FERC okays permit for Shell to study 5-MW hydro project in Washington

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 25 approved a July 26 application from Shell Energy North America (US) LP for a preliminary permit, good for three years, under which the company would study the feasibility of the pumped storage Hydro Battery Pearl Hill Project, to be located on the Columbia River and Rufus Woods Lake near Bridgeport in Douglas County, Washington.

On Oct. 21, Shell Energy modified the project from a closed-loop to an open-loop pumped storage design. The project would consist of:

  • a 215-foot-diameter, 40-foot-high corrugated steel tank (upper reservoir) having a total storage capacity of 29 acre-feet;
  • a 6,025-foot-long, 36-inch-diameter steel and high density polyethylene penstock extending between the upper reservoir and Rufus Woods Lake (lower reservoir);
  • an 85-foot-long, 77-foot-wide pontoon barge floating on Rufus Woods Lake containing a Pelton turbine-motor/generator unit rated for 5 MW, two pumps, and a single generator step-up transformer;
  • an intake fish screen mounted on the two pumps; and
  • an overhead 2,500-foot-long, 24.9-kV transmission line extending from the barge to an existing distribution line owned by Public Utility District No. 1 of Douglas County, Washington (the point of interconnection).

The estimated annual generation of the Pearl Hill Project would be 10.9 gigawatt-hours.

The U.S. Interior Dept. expressed concern that fish and wildlife resources could be adversely affected by the project construction and operation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stated that the proposed project’s design and operation will need to be carefully examined to ensure compatibility with federal project operations.

FERC notd that preliminary permit does not authorize a permittee to undertake construction of the proposed project. The purpose of a preliminary permit is to study the feasibility of the project, including studying potential impacts. The concerns raised in the comments are premature at the preliminary permit stage, in that they address the potential effects of constructing and operating the proposed project, FERC added. Should the permittee file a license application, these issues will be addressed in the licensing process.

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: Brian Johansen, Vice President Power Trading West, Shell Energy North America (US) LP, 601 W. 1st Ave., Suite 1700, Spokane, Washington 99201, phone: (509) 688-6000.

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.