Kilarc-Cow Creek Hydroelectric Project Agreement Finalized

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Wednesday, March 23 2:00 pm ETUtility Supports Decommissioning of Hydroelectric Project in Shasta CountySACRAMENTO, Calif., March 23 /PRNewswire/-- Pacific Gas and Electric Company, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service, California State Water Resources Control Board, NOAA Fisheries, Trout Unlimited and Friends of the River today announced a historic agreement which could lead to the decommissioning of PG&E's Kilarc-Cow Creek hydroelectric project. Upon decommissioning, the agreement also designates all water rights associated with the project to be used for providing additional habitat for the federally listed spring run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.As part of the agreement, PG&E will not seek a new federal operating license for the Kilarc-Cow Creek project in Shasta County, east of Redding. The agreement also identifies the necessary actions for decommissioning, including long term treatment or removal of project facilities and the return of steam flows now diverted from South Cow and Old Cow Creek.In early 2001, PG&E began working with stakeholders and resource agencies in an effort to renew the project's operating license. Through that process it became clear that new license provisions would result in the project no longer being an economic source of power for PG&E's electric customers. Further discussions found common ground in the potential decommissioning of the project and transferring the water rights to a resource agency or other entity to support spring run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. By approaching the opportunity collaboratively, the parties were able to develop a balanced agreement that achieves both of these goals. The signed agreement will next be forwarded to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for review and action.The relicensing process dictated by the Federal Power Act, could allow an interested third party to acquire and continue to operate the project. To do this, the interested third party would need to prepare and file an application for a new license, receive FERC approval for the new license and purchase project facilities from PG& E. However, if no other party obtains a new operating license, FERC will direct PG&E to prepare a plan to decommission the project. Under the agreement, PG&E will continue to operate the project until the current license expires on March 27, 2007. and on annual licenses thereafter until the project is either acquired by another licensee or is decommissioned. The resource agencies will continue to retain all authorities and mandates related to the project. Environmental measures that improve water quality and conditions for state and federally listed species of salmon and steelhead trout continue to remain a priority for both PG&E and the resource agencies who will continue to work together and with FERC.The Kilarc-Cow Creek project totals 5 MW of electric capacity and is located in Shasta County on several upper branches of Cow Creek, a tributary to the Sacramento River. The project consists of two powerhouses and associated canals, penstocks and forebays. The Kilarc Powerhouse on Old Cow Creek was built in 1904 and has a capacity of 3.2 MW. The Cow Creek Powerhouse on South Cow Creek was built in 1907 and has a capacity of 1.8 MW.For more information contact:Chuck Bonham, Trout Unlimited 510-528-4164Kelly Catlett, Friends of the River916-442-3155 ext. 223