U.S. approves power deal for Columbia River projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an agreement for Chelan County Public Utility District to sell power from its 623.2-MW Rock Island and 1,236.6-MW Rocky Reach hydroelectric projects to Puget Sound Energy beyond the terms of the district’s existing licenses.

Under the agreement, PSE is to cover 25 percent of projects’ operations and maintenance costs in exchange for a new share of generation from the two projects, both on the Columbia River in Washington. The accord also calls for PSE to make a one-time payment of $89 million to Chelan County for various purposes, such as reducing debt and increasing cash reserves.

The agreement, approved by FERC on March 28, extends existing power purchase agreements from the expiration date of the projects’ existing licenses through Oct. 31, 2031. The existing license for Rock Island (No. 943) expires Dec. 31, 2028; the license for Rocky Reach (No. 2145) expires June 30 of this year.

Chelan County PUD currently sells power to PSE from Rock Island under a contract that expires June 7, 2012, and from Rocky Reach under a contract that expires Oct. 31, 2011.

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