Western Area Power readies power sales out of rebuilt Olmsted hydro facility

The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a federal power marketing agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, will announce in the Dec. 2 Federal Register that it is seeking comments about the “Proposed Olmsted Power Marketing Plan,” which relates to a power plant rebuild project.

The public comment period on the Proposed Olmsted Power Marketing Plan goes for 90 days from Dec. 2. 

The Olmsted Powerplant, located in northern Utah, was acquired in condemnation proceedings by the United States in 1990 in order to secure water rights associated with the plant deemed essential to the Central Utah Project (CUP). The CUP is a participating project of the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP).

As part of the condemnation proceedings, PacifiCorp continued Olmsted operations until 2015, after which time the operation of the facility became the responsibility of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The existing Olmsted Powerplant is over 100 years old and has greatly exceeded its operational life. A replacement facility is being constructed for the generation of power and the preservation of associated non-consumptive water rights necessary for the CUP.

In February 2015, an Implementation Agreement for the Olmsted Powerplant Replacement Project was signed by the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, the Bureau of Reclamation and WAPA. The agreement sets forth the responsibilities of the participants and how the project will be funded. The District will construct, operate, maintain, and replace the Olmsted facilities in connection with its CUP operations, including power generation.

WAPA markets the hydropower generated from the CRSP facilities as well as the participating projects of CRSP. WAPA will be responsible for marketing the energy from the Olmsted Powerplant. WAPA plans to begin marketing energy from the Olmsted Powerplant in the summer of 2018. Only energy, without capacity, will be available for marketing (power production will be non-dispatchable and incidental to the delivery of water). It is expected that annual energy production from the replacement Olmsted Powerplant will average approximately 27,000,000 kWh per year.

Due to the lack of actual generating data, the term of the contract will be limited. Service is expected to begin on July 1, 2018, or as soon as the project is declared commercially operable, and the contract term will be effective through Sept. 30, 2024.

The delivery point is the 12.47-kV bus at PacifiCorp’s Hale Substation or another substation that may be identified that can be electrically interconnected to the project. Any associated transformation/transmission beyond PacifiCorp’s 12.47-kV bus at the Hale Substation, or other identified substation if delivery is not made at the Hale Substation, is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Applicants must have the necessary arrangements for transmission and/or distribution service in place by April 1, 2018.

The District has a website for the Olmsted project. It says this is a 12-MW project with components that include:

  • Construction of a new powerhouse building (approximately 165′ x 50′) with gantry crane and special architectural features to match historic setting;
  • Installation of two owner-furnished turbine/generator sets and related piping, valving, and controls; and
  • Furnishing and installation of a micro hydro facility consisting of two separate turbine/generator sets and related piping, valving, and controls.
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.