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FERC Endorses Nation’s Largest Dam Removal Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has advanced the nation’s largest dam-removal project, which could restore flowing water to more than 400 miles of the Klamath River near the California-Oregon line.

FERC’s release Friday of its final environmental impact statement reiterated its support for removing the Lower Klamath Project’s four hydroelectric dams.

Feds Block Massive Hydroelectric Project Near Lake Elsinore Again

A massive hydroelectric project proposed to span through the Cleveland National Forest — west of Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Murrieta and Temecula — has once again been blocked by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

On Thursday, the federal agency issued a decision saying it would not rehear arguments from Vista-based Nevada Hydro LLC about its project application and the company’s request for a stay was denied.

Undamming the Klamath May Be a Reality This Year

Twenty years ago, undamming the Klamath River seemed like an impossibility. Against all odds, the project is entering its home stretch and dam removal may begin as early as this year.

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a draft environmental impact statement detailing how removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River would have permanent and significant benefits for the environment and the public. One of the biggest benefits would be the restoration of water quality and temperatures, which are essential for the survival of fish species in the river that local tribes and fishermen rely upon.

“Water Battery” Being Considered on Mokelumne River

Earlier this year, GreenGenStorage received a renewal of their licensing period to submit Pre-Application Documents to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for their proposed Mokelumne Pumped Storage Water Battery Project. The developer hopes to submit their PAD by the end of the year for the project, which would utilize excess solar and wind energy to power their pumped storage technology, thereby generating electricity for the grid at peak energy-usage hours.

“During the midday peak of solar energy generation, we would pump water uphill to an upper reservoir,” Nicholas Sher, manager at GreenGenStorage said. “Then in the evening where energy usage is consumed the most, we would release that water downstream and it would drive a turbine, thus generating energy. Then by soaking up wind power in the evenings for release in the morning peak hours, we’re essentially just time-shifting renewable energy.”

By using renewable energy to transfer water back and forth between two reservoirs, the project would be a non-consumptive means of using water to generate power. In the case of the Mokelumne Pumped Storage Water Battery Project, the Salt Springs Reservoir has been identified as the lower reservoir, as it already has a small hydro-facility on it that generates about 44 megawatts of energy.

Two options are currently being explored for the upper reservoir that Salt Springs would be connected to via penstock pipes: the Lower Bear or Upper Bear Reservoir.

Plan to Raze 4 Dams on California-Oregon Line Clears Hurdle

A proposal to bring down four hydroelectric dams near the California-Oregon border cleared a major regulatory hurdle Thursday, setting the stage for the largest dam demolition project in U.S. history to save imperiled migratory salmon.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission action comes after the demolition proposal almost fell apart last summer, but then a new agreement and additional funding revived it. Thursday’s ruling will allow the utility that runs the dams, PacifiCorp, to transfer its hydroelectric license jointly to the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation, Oregon and California.

Regulators still must approve the actual surrender of the license. Dam removal could start in 2023.

Large Energy Storage Project Would Create New Reservoir Above Isabella Lake

A $3 billion pumped-water energy storage project has been proposed along Isabella Lake that would help even out power delivery from California solar and wind farms at a volume and longevity dwarfing the large battery installations envisioned for eastern Kern.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing a Walnut engineering company’s plan to create a new reservoir above the lake then use pumps and underground pipes to turn it into a rechargeable dam and hydroelectric generator putting out a whopping 2,000 megawatts of power for up to 12 hours at a time.

Opinion: Why Are Taxpayers Footing Klamath River Dam Removal Cost?

Decades of political conflict over the fate of four obsolete dams on the Klamath River reached a turning point last week with a multi-party, two-state “memorandum of understanding” to remove them in hopes of restoring salmon runs.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, heads of two Indian tribes that depend on the river for sustenance, and an executive of Warren Buffett’s PacificCorp that owns the dams announced agreement on a $450 million removal project.

Three Key Takeaways from FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee’s Keynote at REFF

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has had a busy year. Chairman Neil Chatterjee gave a keynote at last week’s virtual REFF Wall Street to sum up 2020’s regulatory challenges and victories.

Chatterjee believes in competitive markets and is happy to see renewable sources win on price on an equal playing field. He didn’t mention solar by name — but he is really enthusiastic about storage, hybrid generation, and the changing regulatory landscape around these new resources.

Agency Throws Curveball in Largest U.S. Dam Demolition Plan

Federal regulators on Thursday threw a significant curveball at a coalition that has been planning for years to demolish four massive hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing.

Anderson Dam: Plans Released to Drain Santa Clara County’s Largest Reservoir

Three months after federal dam safety regulators ordered Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, to be drained due to earthquake concerns, new details are emerging on what will happen to all that water, the fish that depend on it, and the water supply for Silicon Valley.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which owns the 7-mile-long reservoir located east of Highway 101 between Morgan Hill and San Jose, has drawn up plans to begin emptying it starting Oct. 1.