Reclamation issues draft environmental assessment for John W Keys III pump-storage plant

GRAND COULEE, Wash. 12/21/11 (PennWell) — The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the John W. Keys III pump-generating plant’s modernization project.

The core of the 314-MW plant relies on six pumps and six pump-generating units that require frequent maintenance due to their age, according to Reclamation, prompting the bureau to seek bids for the modernization project in April 2011.

The draft EA addresses concerns identified during the public scoping period and describes three alternatives:

— No Action: Reclamation would continue operating the pump and pump-generating units under the existing maintenance program.
— Plant Modernization: Reclamation would overhaul and modernize the pump and pump-generating units, including work on the unit controls, transformers, circuit breakers and fire protection equipment.
— Plant Modernization with Left Powerhouse Decoupling: Reclamation’s preferred alternative, this plan would overhaul and modernize the pump and pump-generating units. The pumps would be disconnected from the Grand Coulee left powerhouse and directly linked to the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission grid.

The plant, on the Columbia River at Washington’s Grand Coulee Dam, also provides irrigation water for 670,000 acres of farmland in the Columbia Basin Project.

A copy of the draft EA is available at the Grand Coulee Public Library, 225 Federal Road, Grand Coulee, Wash. The project summary is posted at www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ea/wash/jkpgp/index.html.

A final environmental assessment is expected in March 2012.

Reclamation issues final EA for 1.1-MW C-Drop hydro project

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore., U.S. 10/27/11 (PennWell) — The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a final environmental assessment supporting a federal Lease of Power Privilege to construct the 1.1-MW C-Drop hydroelectric project on an irrigation canal in Oregon.

The Oct. 17 issuance follows a draft Finding of No Significant Impact in August saying environmental effects of the proposed project are not anticipated to have any significant adverse impacts on the human or natural environment.

The assessment clears the way for Reclamation to issue the Lease of Power Privilege to Klamath Irrigation District to build and operate the C-Drop project on C-Canal of Reclamation’s Klamath Project.

A Lease of Power Privilege is a congressionally authorized alternative to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hydropower licensing. It gives a non-federal entity authorization to use Reclamation-owned water or facilities for generation and sale of hydropower.

Reclamation’s parent Interior Department released a report in March showing the department could generate up to 1 million MWh annually and create jobs by adding hydroelectric generation to 70 of its water resources facilities.

The C-Drop project would include an intake structure, forebay, powerhouse, and a 150-foot transmission line. While the initial anticipated maximum flow of the run-of-canal project is 550 cubic feet per second, a 700-cfs vertical Kaplan turbine is to be installed to accommodate increased flow in the future.

As a result, Reclamation’s assessment endorses a 900-kW project as well as its eventual increase to 1.1 MW. The project initially would generate 2,900 MWh, to increase to 3,600 MWh.

The EA found the project involves no new water diversion or storage and does not modify the timing of water diversions or storage by the Klamath Project in any way. Fish already are screened from the project site by an existing fish screen upstream on A-Canal. Reclamation also found the project is needed to promote development of clean and renewable energy sources for public utilization.

The assessment may be obtained from Reclamation’s Internet site under http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=8141.