Upper North Fork Feather Hydroelectric Project

PG&E’s Hydroelectric Stairway of Power

North Fork Feather River, California.

Project(s) Profile & Licensee

FERC Project P-2105 is owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and is one of three PG&E FERC Projects that are located along the main stem North Fork Feather River (NFFR), upstream of the Oroville/P-2100 Project in Plumas and Butte counties, California. The three projects are operated as one system and known as PG&E’s “Stairway of Power” (7 dams/reservoirs and 8 powerhouses - 690.13 megawatts (MW)). The upper-most project is Upper North Fork (NF) Feather/P-2105 (362.3 MW), next is Rock Creek-Cresta/P-1962 (185 MW); and finally Poe/P-2107 (142.83 MW). There is a fourth PG&E development, not on the main stem, and not part of the “Stairway of Power” called Bucks Creek/P-619. The 85 MW P-619 Project encompasses Bucks, Grizzly, and Milk Ranch creeks in Plumas County, California, and discharges into the NFFR near the P-1962 Project.

The Upper North Fork Feather/P-2105 Projects’ facilities are described below:

Lake Almanor Reservoir/Canyon Dam on NFFR: Prattville Tunnel, into Butt Valley Penstock/Powerhouse (41 MW), and discharges into Butt Valley Reservoir.

Butt Valley Reservoir/Dam: Caribou 1 & 2 Tunnels, into Caribou 1 (75 MW) & 2 (120 MW) Penstocks/Powerhouses; and both discharge into Belden Forebay.

Belden Forebay/Dam: Belden Tunnel, into Belden Penstock/Powerhouse (125 MW) or Dam through Oak Flat Powerhouse (1.3 MW); and both discharge into NFFR.

Federally Threatened - Listed Species/ Species of Concern

Currently, there are no anadromous fish in the NFFR Basin (upstream of OrovilleDam/P-2100). However, each of these projects and the P-2100 Project comprise the “Feather River Projects” and are subject to the “Habitat Expansion Agreement” (HEA) process as stated below.

FERC Relicensing Status

HEA Process: The HEA was signed between DWR, PG&E (the Licensees), NMFS, and other signatories in 2007 and amended in 2011. The HEA directed the Licensees to develop a “Habitat Expansion Plan” (HEP) elsewhere in the Sacramento River Basin in lieu of a NMFS Section 18 Fish Passage Prescription for the four “Feather River Projects” (P-2100 and PG&E’s three above, P-2107/P-1962/P-2105). NMFS, pursuant to the HEA, reserved its fish passage authority in 2007 for all four Feather River Projects. The Licensees produced a HEP in 2010, but NMFS rejected it, per the criteria set out in the HEA, in 2014 and the HEA process is ongoing. However, if the Licensees fail to produce a HEP acceptable to NMFS and NMFS formerly determines that the HEA/HEP process has terminated, then NMFS would be allowed to prescribe Section 18 fish passage over the four Feather River Projects.

Traditional Licensing Process: FERC Final EIS (2005) included a Settlement Agreement. State Water Resources Control Board is working on Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

Resources

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC eLibrary: Docket P-2105.