PSE’s Baker River Project license
Hydroelectric facilities are regulated and inspected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and must operate under a FERC license. Each license lists a variety of conditions that the operator must meet while operating the hydro project. A FERC license typically covers many years of operation, at the end of which the hydro operator must apply for a new license in order to continue generating electricity. The FERC relicensing process requires years of extensive planning and collaboration, including environmental studies, federal and state agency consultation, and public involvement.
More than 100 representatives of the public, tribal organizations, governmental agencies, and other groups participated in the process, examining every aspect of the Baker River Project.
After conducting numerous studies, public meetings, and interest-group sessions, PSE filed a license application with the FERC in April 2004. The FERC issued PSE a new 50-year operating license for the Baker River Hydroelectric Project in October 2008. The license contains specific requirements about many aspects of the hydroelectric project, including structures, equipment, water quality and other environmental issues, wildlife and fisheries programs, operating procedures, stream flow, land management, recreational facilities, historical and cultural issues, and more.
A PSE team works year-round to fulfill the Baker River Project license requirements. The team oversees the creation and execution of detailed plan documents that state how PSE will fulfill its license responsibilities. In addition, the team meets regularly with interest groups, conducts studies, advises on certain aspects of Baker River Project operation, and submits a large number of reports to the FERC and other agencies and groups to show how PSE is complying with the license.
Many of the plans, reports and studies related to the Baker River Project license, along with relevant meeting notes and correspondence, are available here in PDF format.