Chandler Mountain Pumped Storage Proposed Project
Alabama Power is moving forward with its plans to build and operate a large pumped storage hydropower facility in the vicinity of Chandler Mountain in the Coosa River watershed.
HOW DOES THIS PROJECT IMPACT COMMUNITIES NEAR CHANDLER MOUNTAIN?
If this project moves forward, residents could be displaced by the new reservoirs. Ancestral lands, cultural artifacts, and roads could be flooded. The hydrology of the area could be affected, including stream flows in local creeks, and there may be negative impacts to water quality. Construction of the project would take many years and is sure to involve heavy equipment, excavation, and blasting. The new reservoirs would likely not provide any local recreational benefit and will most likely be fenced off from the public to enjoy. The construction of new transmission lines and water conveyances could impact additional private properties.
A project of this magnitude would drastically change the character of Chandler Mountain and the nearby communities, and will degrade aquatic habitat for sensitive species.
This proposed project threatens the health of the mountain itself, Jake Creek, Gulf Creek, Little Canoe Creek, and Big Canoe Creek, and Neely Henry Lake, as well as the aquatic creatures that call those waterways home. For example, Little Canoe Creek is home to one of the two remaining populations of the Canoe Creek Clubshell, a freshwater mussel that has been listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
According to preliminary designs filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the project would involve the construction of FIVE new dams: one new dam to create an upper reservoir (~526 acres) on the northeast end of Chandler Mountain and four dams, including one on Little Canoe Creek, to create a larger lower reservoir (~1,090 acres) at the base of the mountain near and on top of the Steele and Gallant communities. The project would be used for large-scale energy storage, and the upper and lower reservoir levels would fluctuate significantly(27-63 feet).
The entire Project Area being proposed is ~15,800 acres within Etowah and St. Clair counties. Alabama Power currently owns ~2,500 acres of land within and adjacent to the project area. The project would also involve:
- excavating and installing an underground powerhouse with turbines, pumps, and tunnels
- building an overland 3-foot diameter supplemental water conveyance structure to transport surface water from Neely Henry Reservoir six miles to the project.
- constructing transmission facilities to connect with the larger power grid
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS
To submit comments on the Chandler Mountain Pumped Storage proposed project, use Project Number: P-15229 and the sub-docket number is 001. The full docket number is P-15229-001.
(NOTE: If you are searching on FERC’s eLibrary, you will first use Project No. of P-15229 and then there is a different field for the subdocket where you enter 001.)
There are two options for submitting comments to FERC:
- For a comment up to 6,000 characters (between 860 and 1500 words) you can submit an e-comment. This DOES NOT require creating an account with FERC. Clicl here: https://tinyurl.com/chandlerFERC
- For longer comments or to post a comment on your letterhead and include attached files (photos, reports, data) you will need to eRegister with FERC to create an account, and then eFile. Click here: https://tinyurl.com/chandlerFERC and click the eRegister on the left hand side, Register, and the comment through eComment.
PRO TIP: Use e-comment if you do not have files to attach or letterhead you want to use. Use e-file if you have photos or other files to include, or if you want to submit on letterhead.
NEED MORE HELP? Click here: tinyurl.com/commenttoferc to watch a workshop from FERC about how to write comments.
This post originally appeared on Alabama Rivers Alliance.