Utah board refines plans for up to 345-MW Lake Powell pipeline

The Utah Board of Water Resources is making changes to the configuration of its proposed Lake Powell Pipeline project, which now could include as many as six power plants totaling as much as 345.4 MW.

The project would feature a 69-inch diameter pipeline transporting 100,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water about 140 miles from an intake near 1,312-MW Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell to three water conservancy districts in southwestern Utah.

In a preliminary permit application filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2007, the water board originally said Lake Powell Pipeline (No. 12966) could include 18-MW Little Creek, 380-MW Hurricane Cliffs Pumped-Storage, a 35-MW Hurricane Cliffs peaking unit, and 10-MW Sand Hollow. The 443-MW complex would have generated 525 gigawatt-hours annually. (HNN 11/27/07)

Since that filing, the board modified the project to comprise four unnamed run-of-river pipeline plants with a total capacity of about 5.5 MW, a 35-MW peaking plant at Hurricane Cliffs, and a 3.5-MW plant at Sand Hollow Reservoir. Also under investigation is the potential for a pump-back storage plant at Hurricane Cliffs of up to 335 MW, which would increase the capacity of Sand Hollow to 4.9 MW, but would eliminate the 35-MW Hurricane Cliffs peaking plant. It also dropped consideration of the Little Creek power plant.

While the principal purpose of the project is to supply water to fast-growing southwestern Utah, large drops in elevation along the pipeline route provide potential for hydropower, project manager D. Larry Anderson said.

If FERC issues a preliminary permit for the project, the water board would have up to three years to conduct economic analysis, prepare preliminary engineering plans, and study the environment. Based upon the studies, the water board would decide whether to prepare a license application.

MWH Americas Inc. is performing preliminary engineering analysis and environmental studies. Anderson said the water board expects to file a notice of intent to submit a license application to FERC for the pipeline and hydroelectric facilities.

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