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FERC issues new operating license for 900-kW Gonzales Project in Texas

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a new (subsequent) operating license for the 900-kW Gonzales Project, located on the Guadalupe River in Gonzales, Texas.

The project is owned by the city of Gonzales, Texas. The original operating license was issued in August 1980 and expires July 31, 2020. The city filed the application for a subsequent license in July 2018.

The Gonzales Project consists of a 16-foot-high by 258-foot-long concrete dam and a 178-foot-long ogee-type spillway with an integral 78-foot-long by 22-foot-wide powerhouse. The powerhouse contains three 300-kW turbine-generator units. The dam impounds a reservoir with a gross storage capacity of 1,400 acre-feet but the city operates the project in run-of-river mode with no impoundment fluctuation. The project’s estimated average annual generation is 4,500 MWh.

The Gonzales Project is the most downstream of eight hydropower facilities on the Guadalupe River. Only one other, the Canyon Dam Project, is under FERC jurisdiction.

The project does not occupy federal land.

FERC staff found that, as licensed with staff measures, project power would cost $15.23/MWh in the first year of operation, more than the likely alternative cost of power. However, “it is the applicant who must decide whether to accept this license and any financial risk that it entails.”

FERC issued a 40-year license for the project, effective Aug. 1, 2020.