H2O Pursues 440-MW Colorado Pumped Storage Hydro Project without FERC Permit

H2O Holdings LLC on July 18 told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it doesn’t agree with FERC’s rejection of a third preliminary permit for a 440-MW pumped storage hydro project, but that it won’t further appeal that rejection and will instead pursue the project outside of the permit process.

FERC on June 19 denied a rehearing request from H2O Holdings on a FERC rejection of a preliminary permit for its proposed Phantom Canyon Pumped Storage Project in Colorado. The company said it disagreed with FERC’s finding that it and a predecessor company were essentially the same company and that because of that this would have amounted to a rarely-issued third preliminary permit.

“We do, however, agree with FERC’s statements that ‘the absence of a preliminary permit in no way prevents H2O Holdings from continuing to develop the Phantom Canyon Project’ and that ‘holding a permit is not a prerequisite to filing a license application,’” the company added. “We therefore have elected not to pursue an interlocutory appeal of the [June 19] Order. Rather, we continue to focus our time and resources on the diligent pursuit of the project and the development of an application for a FERC license under the integrated licensing process.”

In the past 12 months, H2O Holdings said it has taken various actions, including:

  • Retained HDR Inc., made up of consulting engineers with expertise in siting and designing hydropower and pumped storage facilities, to assist with and expedite the submission to FERC of the integrated licensing process Notice of Intent and Pre-application Document.
  • Earmarked $1.2 million for the preparation of the Notice of Intent and Pre-application Document.
  • Continued to pursue legal water supply for the project in the Water Courts of Colorado.
  • Retained Bishop Brogden Associates Inc., consulting engineers with expertise in western water rights, to study and report upon the water that is legally and physically available for use at the project and to support the application for legal water supply for the project pending before the Water Courts of Colorado.

The letter is from Sam Houston, Managing Member, H20 Holdings LLC, (970) 920-2525.

The FERC commissioners on June 19 denied a rehearing request from H2O Holdings over a January decision by FERC staff to deny another preliminary permit for this 440-MW pumped storage hydro project. The project is to be located on Phantom Creek near Canon City in Fremont, Pueblo, and El Paso counties, Colo.

This article was originally published on GenerationHub and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Hydro via Shutterstock

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

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