FERC rejects latest permit app for hydro project at Oroville facility

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 13 rejected an April 25 application from K. R. Broome & Associates for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the proposed 2-MW Thermalito Afterbay Discharge Weir Project.

The proposed project would develop the head at the existing discharge weir below the Thermalito Afterbay, which is part of the California Department of Water Resource’s Oroville Facilities Project. California DWR operates the 762-MW Oroville Project as an integrated power, flood control, water supply, and irrigation system. During Oroville Project operations, California DWR uses the discharge weir to release flows from Thermalito Afterbay to the Feather River.

In 2010, 2011 and 2014, commission staff dismissed three applications for preliminary permits to study the hydroelectric potential at the same location (Thermalito Afterbay dam) because the commission was in the process of relicensing the Oroville Project. At this time, the commission is waiting for the National Marine Fisheries Service to issue its biological opinion for the project before the commission acts on the relicensing.

Said the May 13 rejection of this latest attempt: “Because the Commission has not yet made a determination on the relicensing of the Oroville Project and the plan for development under any potential new license is provisional at this time, it is not possible to determine with certainty whether the project proposed by the permit application would use the same water resource as the Oroville Project. Therefore, preliminary permit applications for incremental capacity at the Oroville Project will not be accepted until the Commission has made a licensing determination.”

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.