PHP FERC Relicensing

Information
view of dam from on top
The City must renew its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for the Portland Hydroelectric Project in order to continue providing excellent and reliable drinking water while generating clean energy.

Overview 

The City’s existing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for the Portland Hydroelectric Project (PHP) expires in 2029. To continue operating the PHP after 2029, the City must complete a 5+ year relicensing process that begins no later than February 28, 2024. If the City did not pursue relicensing, it would be required to undergo a similar regulatory process in order to cease power production and surrender the license.

Relicensing is a formal regulatory process required by FERC under federal law. It is expected to take five years and provides many opportunities for engagement by regulatory agencies, Tribes, and other interested parties. The City is not proposing any changes to PHP facilities or operations and has filed a Notice of Intent and a Pre-Application Document (PAD) with FERC in December 2023 to initiate relicensing.

The PAD provides FERC and other entities with an initial understanding of the project and includes existing, relevant, and reasonably available information about the PHP. It serves as the basis for identifying issues, data gaps, and study needs related to the relicensing process and forms the foundation for future documents, including the license application. A Draft List of References includes a list of key documents and resource areas that have been identified to help inform the PAD. However, additional existing information about the environment or impacts of the PHP is welcome. 

More information on hydropower licensing, including information on the process for public engagement, can be found on the FERC website.

City’s Goals for Relicensing 

Powerhouse at Dam 1
One of the PHP's two powerhouses.

The City’s goal for the relicensing process is to obtain a new license for the PHP that allows the City to continue to provide excellent and reliable drinking water while generating clean energy. With a new license, the City seeks to maintain effective and efficient operations that center the City’s environmental and fiscal responsibilities. With this project, we aim to support the vitality of our community today and into the future.

As co-managers of the Bull Run Watershed with the U.S. Forest Service for over 100 years, the City has a wealth of data and knowledge to inform the relicensing process. Through the relicensing process, the City will strive to collaborate with state and federal agencies, Tribes, and other interested parties to share this information and identify potential data gaps, questions, or other issues early in the relicensing process.

Anticipated Timeline 

(subject to change)

Resources

Portland Hydroelectric Project Relicensing Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-Application Document (PAD)

Relicensing the Portland Hydroelectric Project - Fact Sheet (Spanish, RussianVietnamese, Chinese)

Hydroelectric Power FAQ

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