PG&E to auction 9.2-MW Potter Valley small hydroelectric project this fall

Pacific Gas and Electric Company announces it will put its 9.2-MW Potter Valley small hydroelectric project up for auction this fall, saying that continuing to operate the facility is not in the long-term best interests of PG&E’s electric customers.

Potter Valley is located on the Eel River and East Branch Russian River in Mendocino and Lake counties in California. The project includes the Potter Valley Powerhouse, Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury, and Cape Horn Dam and Van Arsdale Reservoir. The project’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission operating license expires in April 2022.

However, PG&E says in a letter to the Eel Russian River Commission that it realizes the project has key environmental attributes and provides important regional benefits including recreation opportunities and a significant contribution to the Russian River water supply.

PG&E says it is open to exploring with local, county and/or state governmental entities the possibility of transferring the project to a local or regional entity as an alternative to the auction.

Participation in the auction will be open to any qualified entity. Transfer of the project will require approval of both FERC and the California Public Utilities Commission. PG&E says it plans to continue the ongoing FERC relicensing proceeding throughout the auction process so the new project owner can “step into PG&E’s shoes” relative to the relicensing.

PG&E says this divestiture “is expected to have a negligible impact on PG&E’s overall portfolio of renewable power.”

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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