The developer of the Swan Lake North Pumped Storage hydro project has asked FERC for a two-year extension of its construction deadlines, to April 30, 2023, to start construction and to April 30, 2028, to finish it. The 400 MW closed-loop project will be sited in Klamath County, Ore. The request, filed March 10 by Rye Development, notes that under current law FERC can grant such extensions for up to eight additional years at its discretion, for a total of up to 10 years post-licensing to begin construction. The agency issued the license April 30, 2019 [P-13318]. Rye says that despite steady progress, the extra time "is needed to complete the final project design."

The U.S. Department of Energy announced on March 12 that Tracey LeBeau will be the interim administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration while the department looks for a permanent replacement for Mark Gabriel. Gabriel was named president and CEO of United Power on Feb. 18, effective March 15, ending his eight-year tenure at WAPA. LeBeau is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.

Shell Energy North America on Oct. 30 withdrew its application for a 5 MW open-loop pumped storage project to have been sited about 7 miles upstream of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' 2,069 MW Chief Joseph Dam (WPW No. 13 [14]; 14 [5.5]). Plans had called for the Hydro Battery Pearl Hill project [P-14795] to have 9 MW of pumping capacity, storage of up to 30 MWh of energy, and estimated annual generation of 24 GWh. Shell gave no reason for cancelling the project.

Jaime Pinkham, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and a citizen of the Nez Perce Tribe, has been offered a top position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, reportedly as principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for civil works—a job overseeing the Corps' civil works program. In the position, Pinkham will have significant influence over energy projects across the U.S., including operations at Columbia River hydroelectric projects. Environmental groups indicated strong support for the selection.

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