FERC seeks input on permit for Pyramid Lake hydroelectric project in California

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 12 went out for comment on a November 2015 application from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe for a preliminary permit, under which it would study the feasibility of the Prosser Creek Hydroelectric Project, to be located at the existing Bureau of Reclamation Prosser Creek Dam on Prosser Creek, near the City of Truckee in Nevada County, California.

The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the three-year permit term. 

Prosser Creek Reservoir has a usable storage capacity of 29,800 acre-feet at a normal maximum elevation of 5,741.2 feet, of which up to 20,000 acre-feet is required for flood control purposes between November and June annually. The proposed project would utilize the existing intake structure in Prosser Creek Reservoir, the two 9.5-foot arched concrete conduits, and the discharge channel on the downstream side of the Bureau’s Prosser Creek Dam. No modifications would be made to these existing structures.

The proposed project would consist of these new structures: an approximately 32-foot-wide by 62-foot-long by 33-foot-high powerhouse located on the east side of the primary discharge channel outlet containing two Francis generating units, one smaller 790-kW unit and one larger 2.7-MW unit for a total rated capacity of 3.49 MW; a pressure-rated, concrete, flow-control structure located at the end of the existing low-level outlet that would include control valves to regulate flows to the powerhouse or direct flows to the existing discharge channel during a powerhouse outage; a 48-inch-diameter penstock that conveys water from the existing outlet structures to the powerhouse and directs flow to one or both of the generating units via a common header and control valves; a 50-foot-long tailrace channel extending from the proposed powerhouse to meet the existing outlet channel; a channel training wall leaving the powerhouse on the landside of the tailrace channel; and a 650-foot-long, 69-kV transmission line and electrical substation to interconnect the proposed project to the existing, nearby 69-kV transmission line.

Pyramid Lake proposes to develop the proposed project in conformance with the operation of Prosser Creek Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation under the terms of the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA) and would generate electricity using the existing flow releases under the terms of the TROA. Pyramid Lake does not propose to alter the timing, condition or the amount of releases from Prosser Creek Reservoir or impair any of the current functions supported by operation of this existing multi-purpose water resources project. The estimated annual generation of the Prosser Creek Hydroelectric Project would be 7.4 gigawatt-hours.

The applicant contact is: Donna Noel, Director of Natural Resources, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, P.O. Box 256, Nixon, Nevada 89424, phone (775) 574-1000.

The deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications (without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications is 60 days from the issuance of this Feb. 12 notice.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.