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FERC grants licensing exemption for 1.087-MW Strontia Springs Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an order granting an exemption from licensing for the 1.087-MW Strontia Springs Project on the South Platte River in Douglas and Jefferson counties in Colorado.

FERC is authorized to exempt from the licensing requirements of Part I of the Federal Power Act small hydroelectric projects with an installed capacity of 10 MW or less that use for the generation of electricity either an existing dam (i.e., one in existence on or before July 22, 2005) or a “natural water feature” without the need for any dam or impoundment.

The Strontia project, operated by Denver Water for the City and County of Denver, received an original minor license from FERC effective January 1984. The license expires in December 2023, and Denver Water filed an application for an exemption in January 2019.

The project consists of:

  • Strontia Springs Dam, a concrete structure 292 feet high and 560 feet long
  • Strontia Springs Reservoir with a capacity of 7,863 acre-feet
  • A 42-inch-diameter steel intake structure connecting to a 20-foot-long, 42-inch-diameter conduit
  • A 4-foot-long, 42-inch-diameter branch conduit
  • A 1.087-MW turbine-generator unit
  • A 100-foot-long transmission line

Denver Water proposes to increase the project’s generating capacity to 1.25 MW, by installing a new Francis turbine and generator, and construct a new switchyard adjacent to the powerhouse.

FERC issued the licensing exemption July 2. Denver Water must commence construction of the new project works within two years from the issuance date of the exemption and must complete construction of the project within four years from the issuance date of the exemption.