FERC Rejects Million Permit

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has dismissed a hydropower permit application for a proposed 500-mile water pipeline from the Green River to Colorado’s Front Range.

Developer Aaron Million’s idea was to use the water flowing downhill from the top of the Continental Divide to generate power to - at least partially - offset the enormous cost of pumping it up there in the first place. But FERC may have viewed the application by Wyco Power and Water as an attempt to short cut the federal review process for the entire pipeline project. It’s clear that this is a massive water supply project and that hydropower would have played a small part. “We are pleased that the FERC recognized that Aaron’s proposal is premature,” says Drew Peternell, Director of TU’s Colorado Water Project. “In our view, the time will never come when this project is deserving of a permit.” While this doesn’t kill Million’s dream, it highlights how much work is yet to be done, least of which is to determine the pipeline’s precise route. FERC emphasizes that uncertainty in its Order of Dismissal:

Until some certainty regarding the authorization of the pipeline is presented, Wyco will not be able to gather and obtain the information required to prepare a license application for a proposed hydropower project.  Therefore, there is no purpose under the FPA for issuing a permit to Wyco for its proposed hydropower project at this time.  For this reason, Wyco’s preliminary permit application is dismissed as premature.

Read the full Order of Dismissal: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmw/file_list.asp?accession_num=20120223-30

Read the Denver Post article by Bruce Finley.