Houtama files pre-app doc on 1.9-MW hydro project in Oregon

Houtama Hydropower LLC on May 31 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a Pre-Application Document (PAD) for the McKay Dam Hydroelectric Project, to be located at the existing U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) McKay Dam on the McKay Creek in Umatilla County, Oregon.

McKay Dam is located approximately 5 miles south of Pendleton, Oregon, and impounds the McKay Reservoir. The BOR owns, operates, and maintains the McKay Dam facility, which is operated to support fisheries, irrigation and flood control. Houtama Hydropower’s proposed project includes a new bifurcation on the existing outlet pipe, a new penstock, and a new powerhouse complete with turbine, generator, transmission, and draft tube facilities.

This May 31 PAD:

  • describes the proposed hydroelectric project facilities and proposed project operations; and
  • summarizes existing information regarding the project and its possible effects, and presents preliminary study plans.

This PAD also provides parties interested in this proceeding the information necessary to identify issues and the need for additional information, develop study requests and study plans, and begin to prepare documents analyzing the company’s upcoming application for an original license for this project. Houtama Hydropower proposes to use FERC’s Traditional Licensing Process (TLP) with an enhanced consultation process to prepare its application for the project. It will undertake extensive consultation with agencies and stakeholders, and will likely initiate field studies during the summer of 2016 to support its license application.

The development of a hydroelectric project at McKay Dam has been under consideration for several years. In the past few years at least two FERC preliminary permit applications for a project at this location were issued and then subsequently expired.

The proposed penstock system will operate independently of the existing outlet works, and will deliver released flows to the turbine. Power produced by the generator will be routed up to an existing overhead power line at the dam. The existing neighborhood power line would be upgraded to a 12.5-kV, three-phase circuit for connection to the local grid at a point to be negotiated with Pacific Power. After powering the turbine, water will discharge into the existing still basin adjacent to the existing outlet works.

The project will use only those water flows released by BOR, which operates and maintains the existing facility for the purposes fisheries, irrigation, and flood control. Project operations will not change or affect the BOR’s control of the flows from McKay Dam. Additionally, the proposed hydropower project can be bypassed under emergencies.

Initial analysis of hydrologic data and project capacity resulted in a recommended production capacity of 1.9 MW. Based on the average daily head, a single Francis-type turbine was selected. The generators being considered for this application are three-phase, 4,160-VAC, synchronous models with switchgear and control packages.

Houtama Hydropower estimates annual generation and dependable capacity for the McKay Dam project will total approximately 5.6 GWH based on historical flows and head data (1993 to 2014). 

A project contact is: William Hampton, Houtama Hydropower LLC, PO Box 896, Pendleton, OR 97801, Telephone: (541) 969-2276, wchampton@alum.mit.edu.

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.