FERC okays permit for Black Canyon’s 700-MW pumped storage project in Wyoming

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 23 approved a June 13 application from Black Canyon Hydro LLC for a preliminary permit to study for three years the feasibility of the proposed Seminoe Pumped Storage Project, to be located at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Seminoe Reservoir, part of Reclamation’s Kendrick Project, on the North Platte River near Rawlins in Carbon County, Wyoming.

The proposed project would use the Seminoe Reservoir as a lower reservoir and would consist of these new facilities:

  • two intake structures located about one mile apart on either side of Seminoe Reservoir;
  • two concrete-faced, rock-fill upper reservoirs located on either side of, and about 1,000 feet above, Seminoe Reservoir consisting of: an 85-acre east forebay created by two embankments – one 85 feet high and 1,320 feet long, and another 2,850 feet long and varying in height from five feet at grade to 55 feet; and a 63-acre west forebay contained within a 5,890-foot-long, ringed embankment varying in height from five feet at grade to 60 feet;
  • a 3,000-foot-long, 18.8-foot-diameter, low pressure tunnel and 1,250-foot-long, 18.8-foot-diameter, pressure shaft connecting the east forebay to an underground powerhouse, located 1,300 feet east of Seminoe Reservoir, containing three 133.3-MW adjustable-speed, reversible pump-turbines (east powerhouse);
  • a 2,800-foot-long access tunnel to the east powerhouse;
  • a 1,300-foot-long, 22.6-foot-wide tailrace;
  • a 1,300-foot-long, 22.6-foot-diameter, low pressure tunnel and 1,800-foot-long, 16.1-foot-diameter, pressure shaft connecting the west forebay to a second underground powerhouse, located 2,800 feet north-northwest of Seminoe Reservoir, containing three 100-MW adjustable-speed reversible pump-turbines (west powerhouse);
  • an 800-foot-long access tunnel to the west powerhouse;
  • a 2,800-foot-long, 19.3-foot-diameter tailrace; and
  • a double-circuit, 230-kV transmission line connecting either at PacifiCorp’s planned Aeolus Substation or the planned northern terminal for the TransWest Express DC Line.

The estimated annual generation of the project would be 1,839,600 megawatt-hours.

The purpose of a preliminary permit is to preserve the right of the permit holder to have the first priority in applying for a license for the project that is being studied. During the course of the permit, the commission expects that the permittee will carry out prefiling consultation and study development leading to the possible development of a license application.

The applicant contact is: Matthew Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer, Gridflex Energy LLC, 1210 W. Franklin Street, Suite 2, Boise, ID 83702, phone: (208) 246- 9925.

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.