News: Relicensing

Dam relicensing funding is boon to kayakers at popular Spokane River rapid

By Rich Landers
The Spokesman-Review

Kayakers are enjoying ritzy new facilities at Trailer Park Wave.

A $480,000 access to the Spokane River geared especially for nonmotorized paddlers, floaters and anglers has been completed by Avista Utilities downstream from Post Falls Dam.

The site includes parking for five vehicles, a vault toilet and a paved trail kayakers can use to carry their boats safely down to the river. Read more

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Long Lake Dam pays dividends to boaters, campers, wildlife

By Rick Landers
The Spokesman-Review

The 10 boat-in campsites completed this month at Lake Spokane are the most recent recreational benefits generated by the largest of six hydropower projects on the Spokane River. Read more

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Juvenile salmon get helicopter parenting

Utility uses tagged fish to check migration systems’ efficiency

Christine Pratt
Wenatchee World

WENATCHEE – See any helicopters dipping baskets into the Columbia River below Rock Island Dam lately? It’s not what you may be thinking.

The Grant County Public Utility District is using a helicopter to release tagged juvenile salmon into the river to track their movements through Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams.

The two dams are both south of the Interstate 90 bridge at Vantage. The Wanapum Dam reservoir backs up to the Chelan County Public Utility District’s Rock Island Dam.

The helicopter should be in the vicinity of Rock Island Dam, possibly the Tarpiscan area, between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. daily for the next two weeks to release the fish, Grant County PUD spokesman Chuck Allen said. Read more

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Swan Lake pumped-storage plant alive

By: Lacey Jarrell
Herald and News

A hydroelectric project that could generate enough electricity to power 600,000 homes is still on track for completion in 2020.

The facility is slated for construction at the 5,200-acre Jespersen-Edgewood Ranch in Swan Lake Valley.

According to Joe Eberhardt, EDF Renewable Energy director of hydropower for the West region, the Swan Lake North pumped-storage hydroelectric project is in a preliminary licensing phase with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The licensing process usually takes about three years, he said. EDF began managing the project last year. Read more

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Proposal streamlines retrofitting of nongenerating dams

By Chenfei Zhang
Spokesman Review

WASHINGTON – The nation could get new electricity from old dams, saving time and money compared to damming new streams, under a bill that passed the House unanimously this week.

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and praised by one environmental watchdog group, would speed up the licensing of projects that retrofit existing dams and pipelines.

Building new hydropower dams can be harmful to rivers, Matthew Rice of American Rivers said, but “this bill considers more than just increased megawatts.”

Just 3 percent of the nation’s 80,000 dams are designed for hydropower, but almost 70 percent have the potential to generate electricity, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy. Different dams could be retrofitted to generate between 1 megawatt and 500 megawatts. Read more.

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Reclamation chief Connor discusses impact of regulations on hydropower expansion

E&E TV

Are environmental regulations making it more difficult for the Bureau of Reclamation to keep hydropower affordable and reliable? During today’s OnPoint, Michael Connor, commissioner of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the second-largest producer of hydropower in the western United States, discusses regulatory and policy hurdles facing hydropower. He also explains how the Bureau of Reclamation is planning for a possible water crisis in the nation.

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Hoopa Tribe asks federal officials to resume Klamath dams relicensing

By Associated Press
Oregonian

Frustrated that a deal to remove a string of hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River in Northern California has stalled, the Hoopa Tribe has petitioned federal authorities to restart the bureaucratic process in hopes it will get the dams out of the river more quickly.

Tribal attorney Tom Schlosser said Tuesday the current agreement is hopelessly bogged down in Congress and going back to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission offers the best chance to open up the river for struggling salmon and to improve water quality.  Read more

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A hard sell: Dam removal and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement

By Samantha Tipler
Herald and News

Uncertainty is the only certainty for Klamath River Basin irrigators and fishermen if Klamath River dams remain and a related water agreement is not implemented.

“Status quo is death by a thousand cuts for us,” said Greg Addington, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association. “We have no choice but to keep plugging along. There is no choice.”

Legislation to fund the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and authorize the Interior Secretary to make a decision on dam removal has stalled in Congress.

No action on the agreements for irrigators means continuous uncertainty about water and power rates Read more

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Groups say Enloe Dam would cost ratepayers

By K.C. Mehaffey
The Wenatchee World

OROVILLE — An Okanogan County PUD proposal to relicense Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River near Oroville doesn’t make economic sense, four environmental groups contend.

The PUD has been working for seven years toward restarting operations at the dam, which was built in 1920 but stopped producing power in 1959 when it became cheaper to buy from the Bonneville Power Administration. Read more

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