Gorge P-553

General information

Waterway  Skagit River
Current status   Active license 
Type of facility Conventional Hydro
Type of permit FERC License

FERC information

FERC docket # P-553
FERC project name Skagit River
Other projects with this FERC number
Permit issued 5/11/95
Permit expiration 4/26/25

Ownership and operation

Owner Seattle City of
Owner type Publicly Owned Utility
Year first online (conventional hydro) 1924
Transmission or distribution system owner City of Seattle - (WA)

Power and generating capacity

Number of units 4
Total capacity from hydraulic turbine-generator units within each plant 207.3 MW
Average annual net hydropower generation 961,008.5 MWH


The Skagit River Project is in northern Washington State and consists of three power generating developments on the Skagit River – Ross, Diablo, and Gorge – and associated lands and facilities. The Project generating facilities are in the Cascade Mountains of the upper Skagit River watershed, between river miles (RM) 94 and 127. Power from the Project is transmitted via two 230-kilovolt (kV) powerlines that span over 100 miles and end just north of Seattle at the Bothell Substation. The Project also includes two City Light-owned towns, an Environmental Learning Center (ELC), several recreation sites, and several parcels of fish and wildlife habitat mitigation lands.

The Gorge Development consists of: (1) a combination concrete arch and gravity diversion dam rising 300 feet from bedrock to the crest, with a 94-foot-wide spillway and two fixed wheel gates; (2) a 240-acre reservoir with a total capacity of 8,500 acre-feet; (3) an intake structure; (4) a 20.5-foot-diameter power tunnel, 11,000 feet long; (5) three 10-foot diameter penstocks and one 15-foot-diameter penstock, each 1,600 feet long; (6) a surge tank; (7) a power plant containing four generating units; (8) a switchyard; (9) a 230-kV transmission line extending from Gorge Switchyard to North Mountain Substation; and (10) appurtenant facilities.

A multi-part investigative journalism series was conducted on this project in 2021, highlight concerns of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. Watch part 1 below, and see the rest on YouTube.


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