Reclamation issues draft EA for 1.1-MW C-Drop hydro project

The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a draft environmental assessment supporting a federal Lease of Power Privilege to construct the 1.1-MW C-Drop hydroelectric project on an irrigation canal in Oregon.

Reclamation's issuance included a draft Finding of No Significant Impact saying environmental effects of the proposed project are not anticipated to have any significant adverse impacts on the human or natural environment.

If the draft is given final approval, Reclamation would issue the Lease of Power Privilege to Klamath Irrigation District to build and operate the C-Drop project on C-Canal of Reclamation's Klamath Project.

A Lease of Power Privilege is a congressionally authorized alternative to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hydropower licensing. It gives a non-federal entity authorization to use Reclamation-owned water or facilities for generation and sale of hydropower.

Reclamation's parent Interior Department released a report in March showing the department could generate up to 1 million MWh annually and create jobs by adding hydroelectric generation to 70 of its water resources facilities.

The C-Drop project would include an intake structure, forebay, powerhouse, and a 150-foot transmission line. While the initial anticipated maximum flow of the run-of-canal project is 550 cubic feet per second, a 700-cfs vertical Kaplan turbine is to be installed to accommodate increased flow in the future.

As a result, Reclamation's draft assessment approves a 900-kW project as well as its eventual increase to 1.1 MW. The project initially would generate 2,900 MWh, to increase to 3,600 MWh.

The Reclamation draft finds the project involves no new water diversion or storage and does not modify the timing of water diversions or storage by the Klamath Project in any way. Fish already are screened from the project site by an existing fish screen upstream on A-Canal. Reclamation also found the project is needed to promote development of clean and renewable energy sources for public utilization.

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