The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has awarded a 40-year operating license to Energy Northwest for its 26.125-MW Packwood Lake hydro project in Washington State.
Packwood Lake is on Lake Creek, a tributary of the Cowlitz River, in Lewis County. The project occupies 511.65 acres of federal land within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Goat Rocks Wilderness, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
FERC issued the original operating license for the project on July 7, 1960, and it expired on Feb. 28, 2010. Since then, Energy Northwest has operated Packwood Lake under an annual license pending disposition of the new license application.
The Packwood Lake project consists of 452-acre Packwood Lake; a 424-foot-long intake canal; a 15-foot-high and 85-foot-long concrete dam with a stilling basin; an intake building; a conveyance system of concrete pipe and tunnels about 4.1 miles long; a 1.1-mile long penstock; a surge tank; a powerhouse containing a single turbine-generator unit; a tailrace channel; a tailrace fish barrier; a switchyard, and a 1.5-mile-long, 69-kV transmission line.
The project is controlled automatically from the powerhouse and generates about 92,000 MWh annually.
Energy Northwest proposes no increased capacity or new project facilities but does intend to make several operational changes intended to enhance aquatic habitat.
The issued license requires the proposed measures discussed above, as well as the conditions required by the Washington Department of Ecology’s water quality certification, the Forest Service’s section 4(e) conditions, the National Marine Fisheries Services’ section 18 fishway prescriptions and the reasonable and prudent measures of NMFS’s biological opinion. The license also requires certain staff-recommended modifications and additional measures.
The license is effective Oct. 1, 2018, for a period of 40 years.