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 intends to file 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
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.
(subject to change)
- January 2023–December 2023
- Pre-Application Document (PAD) developed
- July 19, 2023
- The Portland Water Bureau asked City Council in 2023 to authorize the bureau to execute and submit on behalf of the City, by February 2024, an application request, including all required pre-application materials, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to renew hydropower license #2821. (Adopted)
- December 2023
- PAD and Notice of Intent submitted to FERC; start of Integrated Licensing Process
- January 2024–March 2024
- Public comment period on PAD, scoping meeting, and study requests to FERC
- May 2024–August 2024
- Proposed Study Plan (PSP) filing and public comment period on PSP
- September 2024
- Revised Study Plan (RSP) and public comment period on RSP
- October 2024
- FERC issues study plan determination
- October 2024–January 2025
- Formal study plan dispute resolution process
- January 2025–November 2026
- Study and comment period
- October 2026–December 2026
- Draft License Application (DLA) filing and public comment period on DLA
- February 2027–July 2027
- Final License Application (FLA) filed and public comment period on FLA
- May 2027–December 2028
- Environmental analysis
- February 2029
- License order issued