FERC issues 50-year operating license to 400-MW Gordon Butte Pumped Storage hydro project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued GB Energy Park LLC a 50-year license to construct and operate the 400-MW Gordon Butte closed-loop pumped storage hydropower project located in south central Montana.

Final design is to be completed in 2017 with construction anticipated to begin in 2018.

Based in Montana, Absaroka Energy is developing the Gordon Butte project.

“This is a tremendous milestone achieved by a world-class team including Barnard, SNC-Lavalin and GE Renewables,” said Carl Borgquist, president of Absaroka Energy. “I’m so proud of our team who have worked diligently together to accomplish this significant milestone on the journey to project completion.”

The facility will consist of upper and lower closed-loop reservoirs connected by an underground concrete and steel-lined hydraulic shaft. Each reservoir will be about 4,000 feet long and 1,000 feet wide (4,000 acre-feet) with depths of 50 to 75 feet, and the head between the two reservoirs if 1,025 feet. The powerhouse will contain four pump-turbine units with total installed capacity of 400 MW and expected annual energy generation of 1,300 GWh.

The Gordon Butte project is in Meagher County and located about three miles west of Martinsdale and less than six miles from the Colstrip twin 500-kV transmission lines. This interconnection location will give the facility access to markets in Montana and throughout the region.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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