FERC issued a preliminary permit to Daybreak Power in late June for its proposed 2,650 MW Halverson Canyon Pumped Storage project near Creston, Wash., about 35 miles upstream of Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.
Daybreak applied for the preliminary permit in January [P-15088]. The issuance of the permit on June 28 starts a four-year countdown for filing a development application with FERC.
The $4.9 billion project would use water from Lake Roosevelt and a new reservoir in an upland area above the lake.
FERC's approval follows the Bureau of Reclamation's lease of power privilege for the project on June 25, Daybreak CEO Jim Day told Water Power West.
Any pumped-storage project using Lake Roosevelt, which is impounded by Grand Coulee Dam, is subject to the jurisdictions of both BuRec and FERC, the former having authority over the Lake Roosevelt reservoir, and the latter having authority over features outside the lake, including Banks Lake and its dam.
Reclamation issued a request for proposals in August seeking bids to develop pumped storage at the lake, with the goal of deciding by late March. The RFP was triggered in February 2020 after Columbia Basin Hydropower submitted notice it would request a LOPP for its planned project using Banks Lake for the upper reservoir and Lake Roosevelt for the lower reservoir (WPW No. 25 ).
Both Daybreak and CBH responded to the RFP, but Reclamation delayed its decision due to the "complexity and location of the projects," that agency told Water Power West (WPW No. 28 ).
Daybreak's design assumes nine 294 MW generating units, a 1,039-foot static head and a 10-hour generation period. The company is teaming up with Australia-based Worley to develop the project, Day told Water Power West.
Day said he has been in discussions with potential off-takers of the project's generation, including with BPA, which under law gets the first right of refusal to market its generation.
The project location was guided by a 2014 BuRec study, "Reclamation-Wide Pumped Storage Screening Study." The Halverson Canyon site was among the most cost-effective locations for pumped storage, according to the study, ranking 12th out of 108 sites, with an installed cost of about $1.6 million/MW.
The site was identified by Reclamation as "the most cost-effective at Lake Roosevelt on a dollars per MW-installed basis," Day said. "It came in at considerably lower cost per MW-installed than the Roosevelt-to-Banks configuration that BOR considered."
The other bidder, Columbia Basin Hydropower, told Water Power West it expects to also be granted a LOPP.
"We had to provide Reclamation additional information to support our application," said Darvin Fales, CBH secretary-manager, in a July 21 email. "We just wrapped that process up and are probably 45 days out from hearing back," adding, "We are confident that we will be awarded a LOPP also."
The CBH project calls for three adjustable-speed pump-generating units totaling 500 MW, although other units could be added to reach up to 1,000 MW. The estimated cost is around $1.4 billion and would take six years to build.
Fales told Water Power West that Bostonia has been retained as financial advisor on the project, and Kleinschmidt Group as the engineering consultant.
CBH has been pursuing the development of such a project, called Banks Lake, for about nine years, and its efforts have included obtaining a preliminary permit for the FERC-jurisdictional piece. That permit expired in July 2020, after a two-year extension in 2018 (WPW No. 14 ).