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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Media News Releases Archives April-June 2005

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News Release: June 30, 2005 Print this page
Docket Number: P-2042-013

Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project gets new 50-year license

In an order that balances the strong need for electricity in the region with measures to protect the environment, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today issued a new license for the Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project in northeastern Washington state and northwestern Idaho.

The Commission's order noted that continued operation of the 72-megawatt project helps meet the region's power needs and contributes to the reliability of the electric system. In addition, with the generation of hydropower, the need for an equivalent amount of fossil fuel-fired electricity is eliminated, helping to preserve the region's air quality.

The project is located on the Pend Oreille River, one of the major tributaries of the Columbia River. The 50-year license requires the licensee, Public Utility District No. 1 of Pend Oreille County, to put in place mitigation measures to improve water quality, protect and enhance fish resources, improve public recreational facilities, and maintain and protect historic and archaeological resources.

Among other things, the license provides for:

  • Fish passage;
  • Water quality improvements;
  • Installation of fish-friendly runners in two of the upgraded turbines;
  • Development of Wildlife and Aquatic Plant Management Plans;
  • Fish habitat enhancement and restoration in the tributaries of Box Canyon reservoir;
  • Boat launch expansion and other recreational improvements; and
  • Protecting cultural resources by developing an inventory of those within the project boundary.

In addition, the licensee plans to upgrade the turbines, increase hydraulic capacity of the project and rewind the generators. This will result in an 18 megawatt increase in generation capacity, or 20,817 additional megawatt-hours per year of regionally available energy.

For more information, see the Commission's website at


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