Clementine Hydroelectric Project

North Fork American River, California.

Project Profile & Applicant

FERC Project No. 13432 is undergoing Preliminary Permit Application (PPA) and early-Traditional Licensing (TLP) processes. The proposed 16 megawatt (MW) Project is to be located on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) North Fork Dam on the North Fork American River in Placer County, California. The Applicant is American Renewables (AR), DBA Lake Clementine Hydro, LLC (LCH).

The proposed Project would utilize the existing USACE dam (155 feet-high) and Lake Clementine Reservoir. A Water Intake is proposed in the lake, which would then serve one of two alternative configurations near the southern dam abutment. These include a Conduit/Siphon over the dam or a Power Canal around the dam. A Powerhouse, with one 1 MW and two 7.5 MW turbines, would be sited at a suitable location at the base of the dam. There is a rarely-used, 3-foot diameter, outlet pipe in the dam about 50 feet down from the dam’s crest. Thus, excess water frequently spills over the dam and the proposed goal is to utilize some of that flow while maintaining some degree of spill.

Federally Threatened - Listed Species/Species of Concern

There are no anadromous fish in the upper American River (upstream of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s [USBR] Nimbus and Folsom Dams). A NMFS Biological Opinion on the USBR contains a “Reasonable and Prudent Alternative” for fish passage of the distinct population segment of California Central Valley (CV) steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) over USBR’s Nimbus/Folsom Dams and into “some suitable location in the upper American River” (North/Middle/South Forks). Thus, it is reasonably foreseeable that CV steelhead may be reintroduced into the upper American River and into the vicinity of the Project.

FERC Relicensing Status

PPA/TLP processes are ongoing. Over 6 years ago, AR originally held a Preliminary Permit for the proposed Project under a now dismissed FERC number. However, more recently, LCH filed an updated PPA in 2009 and a NOI/PAD in August 2010 for the proposed Project. FERC granted the first Preliminary Permit in October 2010. The TLP stalled after April 2011 when NMFS provided comments on draft study plans. LCH applied for a second PPA in October 2012. FERC granted the second Preliminary Permit in March 2013. LCH recently sought to re-start the TLP process via a site visit and meeting in March 2014. LCH’s intent is to provide a PAD Supplement to update new information and a new set of Draft Study Plans by the end of March 2014.

Resources

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC eLibrary, Docket P-13432.