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U.S. agency wins support to relicense 762-MW Feather River

The California Department of Water Resources reported it reached a $1 billion settlement with U.S. and California state agencies and stakeholders supporting the department's relicense application for the 762-MW Feather River project (No. 2100).

The $1 billion pricetag is an estimate of what it will cost DWR over 50 years. Nearly half is targeted for recreational purposes.

DWR filed a relicense application in 2005, saying it wants to rename the project Oroville Facilities. DWR and stakeholders in support of the proposed agreement plan to finalize its language and sign it in March for submittal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC is scheduled to issue a relicense for the project by March 2007.

Six-year effort builds consensus for 50-year license

DWR worked for six years with Oroville and Butte County communities, federal and state agencies, Indian tribes, environmental and recreational organizations, citizens, and water contractors to build a consensus on a 50-year relicense. DWR said it agreed to provide amenities above and beyond those normally included in a license.

DWR said a few stakeholder groups continued to seek additional consideration of their issues. FERC's processing of DWR's relicense application will weigh such concerns against the benefits and consensus represented in the settlement agreement.

Relicensing would let DWR continue operating Oroville Dam and reservoir, Edward Hyatt power plant, Thermalito power plant, Thermalito Diversion Dam power plant, and Thermalito Forebay and Afterbay. Oroville Reservoir, also known as Lake Oroville, is the principal water storage facility of the State Water Project.

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