The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in an April 14 order that it lacks jurisdiction to issue a license or permit to Palo Verde Power for a hydropower project at the Palo Verde diversion dam, and dismissed Palo Verde Power’s application for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of this 29-MW project.
Palo Verde Power had applied for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of constructing a 29-MW hydroelectric project at the Palo Verde diversion dam, located on the Colorado River in Riverside County, California, and La Paz County, Arizona. The Palo Verde diversion dam is a feature of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Palo Verde Diversion Project and is owned and operated by the Palo Verde Irrigation District.
Commission staff issued public notice of the application on Jan. 19. In response to the public notice, the Interior Dept., parent of the Bureau, objected on the grounds that the District and Reclamation have the exclusive right to develop hydropower at the site. Interior cited legislation authorizing construction of the dam and reserving hydropower development either to the District through a commission license or to the United States.
Said the April 14 FERC order: :The language of the 1954 Act, as amended in 1981, unambiguously provides that the District has the exclusive right to develop hydropower facilities at the Palo Verde diversion dam pursuant to a Commission license. If it relinquishes that right, hydropower development is reserved exclusively to the United States. The Commission is therefore prohibited from authorizing the non-federal development of hydropower facilities at the Palo Verde diversion dam by any entity other than the District.”