FERC issues relicense for 865.76-MW Rocky Reach

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a relicense order Feb. 19 for continued operation of the 865.76-MW Rocky Reach hydroelectric project on the mid-Columbia River in Washington.

The order includes provisions of a settlement agreement and provides for a 43-year term. (HNN 8/8/06) The original license, issued in 1957, expired in 2006, after which licensee Chelan County Public Utility District operated the project (No. 2145) under a temporary annual license.

The new license contains environmental mitigation to protect resources near the project, including plans to deal with shoreline erosion, water quality, white sturgeon, bull trout, Pacific lamprey, historic properties, and cultural resources. The relicense also provides for wildlife recreation management plans.

�We conclude that the project's power, low cost, displacement of nonrenewable fossil-fueled generation, and contributions to the region's diversified generation mix will help meet a need for power in the region,� FERC said. (HNN 7/17/08)

The original license, as amended in 2002, authorized an installed capacity of 1,237.4 MW. In 2004, FERC once again amended the license, revising capacity to conform to regulations defining authorized installed capacity as the lesser of the ratings of the generators or turbines. In the 2004 amendment, FERC changed the authorized installed capacity to 865.76 MW but noted the capacity of the 12 generators totaled 1,280.45 MW.

Commissioners express support for project, hydropower

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller expressed support for Rocky Reach, which is located in his home state.

�This decision is made all the more gratifying by Chelan PUD's implementation of the Habitat Conservation Plan �- a plan negotiated with federal, state, tribal and environmental representatives,� Moeller said. �I applaud everyone for their innovative and collaborative approach to managing our hydropower resources while protecting the salmon and steelhead that migrate through the project.�

Commissioner Marc Spitzer issued a statement supporting the relicensing and adding hydroelectricity will continue to be an important component of the nation's energy mix for various reasons.

�With concerns about climate change and alternative energy resources dominating the nation's energy discussion, I note that hydroelectric power is a clean, renewable power source,� Spitzer said. �Hydropower is a resource that is available when needed. It can be released or held back to respond to demand. This flexibility makes it an ideal source to serve as reliable and dependable back up supply to other intermittent renewable resources.�

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