Permit Delays Dam Up Hydro Projects, Relicensing Costs Millions

Alvin Thoma’s youngest son was born the year his employer, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., began the process of renewing the license for its Upper North Fork Feather River hydropower facility in northern California. His son is 19 years old now. The facility, however, is still undergoing relicensing. “For me, that’s a mental image of just how long it takes to go through this process,” Thoma, a director of power generation at PG&E, which runs one of the largest hydro systems in the country, told Bloomberg Environment.