Kilarc-Cow Project Recommended for Decommissioning

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In a final environmental Impact statement (FEIS) released on August 16, staff at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have supported PG&E’s proposal to decommission the Kilarc-Cow project in Shasta County, California.

The FEIS concludes that the removal of the Kilarc and Cow projects can improve aquatic and fisheries habitat in bypassed reach for anadromous and resident species and that in general, “fisheries and aquatic resources would significantly benefit over the long-term, when compared to the existing conditions.” It also predicts that there will be an increase in average monthly flows in the reaches of Old Cow and South Cow Creeks that are currently bypassed for hydropower operations. The report acknowledges that during removal, there will be temporary effects to wildlife due to noise, lighting, and human activity and that upland, riparian, and wetland vegetation will be temporarily disturbed.

The California Energy Commission had concurred with Cal Fish and Game, and other state and federal resource and water quality agencies’ view that PG&E's decommissioning proposal is an important restoration opportunity for salmonid habitat in the Cow Creek watershed and northern Sacramento River valley. FERC states that “With expected additions of generation in the region, this loss of generation would have a negligible overall effect on the region.” The project has a total installed capacity of 4.67 MW and generates an average of about 31,100 megawatt hours annually.

After beginning the licensing process in 2002, PG&E concluded in 2004 that the cost of providing the protection, mitigation, and enhancement (PM&E) measures for the resources affected by the project would outweigh the economic benefit of generation at the project over the life of a new license. The company filed an application to surrender its license in March 2009.