PG&E sold its 11.5-MW Kern Canyon small hydro facility to Kern and Tule Hydro LLC at the end of 2020.
The company said that the Kern Canyon project, built in 1921, is no longer an economic source of electric generation for PG&E’s customers. It is far from other PG&E hydroelectric facilities and the regional headquarters, making it costly for PG&E to operate. An increasingly competitive energy market, lower generation needs forecasted on PG&E’s system, and the increasing cost of operating the facility were all factors in PG&E’s decision
The Kern Canyon project consists of a small diversion dam, a 1.6-mile-long tunnel and a penstock to the single generating unit at Kern Canyon powerhouse. The dam’s gates and a catwalk were damaged in a winter storm rockslide in January 2017, and the powerhouse has not been operating since that time. PG&E took the dam out of service by removing the spillway gates and boards to allow water to safely pass through. The sale also includes about 700 acres of land.
In mid-2018, PG&E issued a request for offers to solicit purchase proposals for the facility, located about 15 miles east of Bakersfield, Calif.
After executing a purchase and sale agreement with Kern and Tule Hydro LLC in early 2020, PG&E sought approval for the sale from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and approval of the license transfer from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). CPUC approved the sale in September, and FERC approved the license transfer in October. Escrow closed on Dec. 29.
PG&E said there will not be any impact to its employees as a result of the sale.