Grant County allots power from 1,893-MW Priest Rapids to Yakama utility

Grant County Public Utility District agreed June 4 to allocate power valued at $2 million to $8 million annually from 1,893-MW Priest Rapids hydroelectric project to the Yakama Nation and the tribe’s newly formed utility, Yakama Power.

Yakama Nation and Yakama Power will join 22 other entities that buy power from Priest Rapids. From 2007-2015, the district is to market the power on behalf of the Yakama Nation. The allocation would total 20 average MW from 2007-2009, 15 aMW from 2010-2015, and declining to 10 aMW in 2016 through the remainder of the agreement, possibly 2057. Power purchasers are to share costs of the power allocation.

The agreement will extend through the duration of a 30- to 50-year relicense order for the project (No. 2114), on the Columbia River in Washington. The project now operates under an annual license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which could issue the new operating license in 2007. (HNN 4/13/07)

�After careful consideration, the commission believes that the agreement is in the best interest of the people of Grant County,� Grant County PUD Commission President Randy Allred said. �We are pleased to begin a new relationship with the Yakama Nation that follows in the footsteps of our relations with other tribes.�

In recognition of the value of the power allocation, Grant County PUD said it will receive rights to 75 percent of renewable energy credits for the first 75 aMW of any renewable energy project developed by the tribe. Grant County PUD also will receive the first opportunity to jointly develop new generation projects.

The district said possible joint projects include hydroelectric generation at Cle Elum Dam. Grant County PUD previously announced it would prepare a license application for the 30.2-MW Cle Elum project (No. 12746). (HNN 5/10/07)

The agreement formalizes additional cooperative work related to natural resource issues surrounding relicensing of Priest Rapids, specifically management plans for Pacific lamprey and white sturgeon. The Yakama Nation previously signed on to the salmon and steelhead agreement and the Hanford Reach fall chinook protection program. (HNN 8/18/06)

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