Developer sought for 578-mile, 1,070-MW Wyoming-Colorado pipeline

LITTLETON, Colo., U.S. 3/2/12 (PennWell) -- Wyco Power and Water Inc. seeks proposals from development teams to finance, design, build, and operate a proposed 578-mile water pipeline from southwestern Wyoming to Colorado that would feature two pumped-storage plants and six conventional hydropower plants totaling 1,070 MW. Proposals are due April 6.

Wyco's Aaron Million, a Fort Collins, Colo., businessman, proposed the Regional Watershed Supply project, a buried water supply pipeline to carry water from two points in Wyoming, the Green River and the reservoir of the Bureau of Reclamation's 151.95-MW Flaming Gorge project on the Green River in Utah and Wyoming. More than 250,000 acre-feet would be delivered across the Continental Divide to Colorado's Front Range at storage facilities near Pueblo, Colo.

Wyco said the project is expected to cost between $2.8 billion and $3.2 billion and would include two 48- to 72-inch underground pipelines, three reservoirs, nine natural gas-powered pump stations, six in-line hydropower plants totaling 70 MW, two or more pumped-storage plants of about 1,000 MW, and related facilities along the route.

The developer seeks a concessionaire team comprising a lead business entity responsible for the contract with Wyco, capital providers, and core contractors to build the project.

Request for proposal documents may be obtained from the Internet site of Brierley Associates at http://www.brierleyassociates.com/regional-watershed-supply-project-form.html. Questions may be submitted until March 15.

Proposals by mail or e-mail are due to the address below by 2 p.m., Mountain time, April 6. For information, contact Brierley Associates Inc., 2329 W. Main St., Suite 201, Littleton, CO 80120; E-mail: wyco@brierleyassociates.com.

FERC dismisses preliminary permit application as premature

In a Feb. 23 order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed as premature a preliminary permit application by Wyco to study developing the giant project.

Wyco applied in October 2011 for a FERC preliminary permit (No. 14263), which would reserve the site while the applicant studied feasibility of the project for hydropower licensing. (HydroWorld 11/14/11) About 230 comments were filed by interested parties in response to the application.

The commission noted the Federal Power Act requires a license applicant to submit maps, plans, specifications, and cost estimates as required for a full understanding of the proposed project. It said Wyco could not gather such information until authorizations have been obtained for a specific pipeline route or the process to identify a specific route has been substantially completed. Therefore, FERC said there is no purpose for issuing a three-year preliminary permit to Wyco at this time and dismissed the permit application.

FERC previously noted that it would only have jurisdiction over the proposed hydroelectric project and not the other major components of the giant project. It was reported that the Corps of Engineers originally had been reviewing the plan, but referred Wyco to FERC when it learned the project was to have a hydropower component.

The preliminary permit application identified five conventional hydro plants and two pumped-storage projects on a 501-mile pipeline. Proposed hydro developments included the 240-MW Lake Hattie Pumped-Storage development utilizing a new upper reservoir to be built on Sheep Mountain and using the existing Lake Hattie as lower reservoir. It also would include the 240-MW Wild Horse Canyon Pumped-Storage development with a new 10,300-acre-foot upper reservoir and a new lower reservoir. The project also would have five 14-MW conventional hydro plants built on the pipeline.

For water distribution purposes, the permit application said the project would have four new reservoirs: 185,000-acre-foot Cactus Hill near Fort Collins; 25,000-acre-foot T-Cross in El Paso County, Colo.; a new reservoir along the western portion of the pipeline to manage Green River withdrawals; and a terminus reservoir near Pueblo.

Other project features in the application included nine gas-powered pump stations, 501 miles of 72- and 120-inch buried pipeline, seven transmission lines of about 30.6 miles in length from switchyards near the hydro plants to the electricity grid.

The project would be located in Adams, Arapahoe, Elbert, El Paso, Larimer, Pueblo, and Weld counties in Colorado, and Albany, Carbon, Laramie, and Sweetwater counties in Wyoming.



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