The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a final environmental impact statement endorsing the surrender and decommissioning of the 4.6-MW Kilarc-Cow Creek hydroelectric project from Old Cow and South Cow creeks in Shasta County, Calif.
The final EIS issued Aug. 16 closely follows a draft EIS issued in 2010. In the document, FERC staff backs the proposed surrender of the project license (No. 606) by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which determined the project is no longer economically viable.
The project consists of two forebays and five diversion dams, 20 canal sections, flumes, tunnels, spillways, one siphon, two penstocks, and two powerhouses with tailraces, switchyards, and transmission facilities. The run-of-river project generates 31,100 MWh annually.
FERC staff recommended approval of PG&E's proposal to remove the diversion dams and allow for free passage of fish and sediment. The utility proposes to leave in place some diversion dam abutments and foundations to protect stream banks and provide grade control. PG&E also proposes leaving in place the powerhouse structures with an option of their preservation for future use. The utility would remove turbine-generators and other equipment.
FERC staff proposed only minor modifications to the utility proposal. It estimated cost of project decommissioning and removal at $9 million.
The EIS found on the whole that natural resources would benefit from project removal, while there would be some adverse socioeconomic effects, including loss of flows to irrigate 312 acres in the area.
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