West Fork Montreal River
|Current status||Active |
|Type of facility||Conventional Hydro|
|Mode of hydropower generation||Reregulating|
|Type of permit||FERC|
|FERC docket #||P-15055|
Ownership and operation
|Owner||Northern States Power Co - Minnesota|
|Owner type||Investor-Owned Utility|
|Transmission or distribution system owner||Northern States Power Co|
The Gile Flowage development consists of the Gile Flowage reservoir and Gile Flowage dam. The facilities are owned and operated by Northern States and located entirely in Iron County, Wisconsin. The Gile Flowage dam, which impounds the reservoir, is located 20 miles upstream of the Saxon Falls and Superior Falls Projects on the West Fork of the Montreal River. The dam has a crest elevation of 1,490 feet National Geodetic Vertical Datum. The Gile Flowage reservoir has a surface area of 3,317 acres.
During the review of the PAD for the Saxon Falls and Superior Falls Projects in 2020, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff found information stating that the unlicensed Gile Flowage development was created to augment river flows in the Montreal River during the summer and winter low-flow periods for the downstream Saxon Falls and Superior Falls Projects, and that both projects depend on flow augmentation from Gile Flowage during these periods. Accordingly, Commission staff opened an inquiry into whether the Gile Flowage is subject to the Commission’s mandatory licensing jurisdiction under section 23 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) under docket UL20-1-000.
Commission found that flows from the Gile Flowage development are used and useful in connection with the two downstream licensed hydroelectric projects and necessary and appropriate in the maintenance and operation of those projects. The Gile Flowage development contributes to generation at the Saxon Falls and Superior Falls Projects by well over 2 percent, amounting to a significant benefit to those projects. Therefore, the Commission found in a August 19, 2020 Order Ruling on Jurisdictional Inquiry and Licensing Required (172 FERC ¶ 62,093) that the Gile Flowage development is a part of a complete unit of development that includes the two downstream licensed hydroelectric projects and is therefore required to be licensed.