Washington utility district proposes 84-MW Shanker’s Bend

Okanogan County Public Utility District is pursuing plans to develop the 84-MW Shanker’s Bend hydroelectric project that could include building a 260-foot-tall dam on the Similkameen River.

The district filed a preliminary permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission May 17. If granted a permit, Okanogan County PUD said it would study various options for the water storage and hydro project, including dam heights ranging from 90 to 260 feet. At 260 feet, the dam would be about 1,200 feet long and impound an 18,000-acre reservoir with a storage capacity of 1.7 million acre-feet. About half of the reservoir would be located in Canada.

From time to time since 1948, the Corps of Engineers, the International Joint Commission, and the district have studied the project. In the 1980s, the PUD obtained a preliminary permit (No. 7037) that subsequently expired.

Okanogan County PUD said it is proposing the project now in coordination with the state of Washington’s Columbia River Water Management Program. The 2006 Washington Legislature supported legislation to develop new water supplies and improve water management, which included a commitment of $216 million. (HNN 3/31/06)

The district said Shanker’s Bend project would meet or exceed the goals of the Columbia River Water Management Program. It added Shanker’s Bend could provide backup generation for its Nine Canyon wind project and other regional power projects.

District prepares license application for 8.6-MW Enloe Dam

Just downstream of Shanker’s Bend, Okanogan PUD is preparing a draft license application to restore a small hydroelectric project at Enloe Dam, a 57-foot-tall, 315-foot-long concrete arch gravity dam.

The district expects to file the draft application late this year or in early 2008 for the site, 3.5 miles northwest of Oroville, Wash. The 8.6-MW project (No. 12569) would feature new construction on a riverbank upstream of Similkameen Falls.

The district previously held a license for a 4.1-MW Enloe Dam project (No. 10536), which it later lost. FERC rescinded that license in 2000, saying a post-licensing fish passage requirement by the National Marine Fisheries Service raised too many conflicting issues to allow licensing to proceed.

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