Takatz Lake Hydroelectric Feasibility Project

This website has been developed for participants and others interested in the application process of the City and Borough of Sitka’s Takatz Lake Hydroelectric  Feasibility Project [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) No. 13234].  The proposed Takatz Lake Hydroelectric Project will require a FERC license.  The FERC license application process involves extensive consideration of the environmental, engineering and economic aspects of the project, resulting in a complex consultation and application process.

In this site, the City and Borough of Sitka will be referenced “City”, and the Takatz Lake Hydroelectric Feasibility Project will be referenced “Project”.

  At this site, you will be able to locate information such as:

  • Background and rationale for the Project;
  • Need for license application;
  • Detailed descriptions of existing and proposed Project features;
  • Descriptions of the applicable FERC regulations and requirements;
  • Documentation of the required public participation and stakeholder consultation processes.  

Also available in the website will be dates of upcoming meetings, meeting summaries, and a list of license process milestones and related documents, including informational papers, study plans, study results and license application materials, among others.

 

HOW TO USE THIS WEBSITE

This website has been designed to facilitate access both to status of the overall License process related to the Project, and to individual License-related documents. Throughout the website are links, highlighted in blue, which provide direct access to various documents or topics.

Website Text Links

Within the text of the various topics are links, highlighted in blue, to documents, schedules and other material related to that topic. All addressable documents are files in pdf format. The pdf files may be downloaded, but are encrypted to prevent their modification or conversion to other file types.

 

OVERVIEW and RATIONALE FOR the PROJECT

Takatz Lake Hydroelectric Feasibility Project Overview

The Project would be located on Takatz Lake approximately 20 miles east of the City of Sitka, Alaska, on the east side of Baranof Island.  The project would occupy federal lands within the Tongass National Forest, administered by the U.S. Forest Service.  A new concrete dam and secondary saddle dam would raise the elevation of Takatz Lake 200 feet, providing an active storage capacity of 82,000 acre-feet.  An approximately 2,800-foot-long tunnel and a 1,000-foot-long penstock would discharge the lake flows into a 4,000 square foot powerhouse, with two 18,600 horsepower (hp) Francis turbines on the shore of Takatz Bay that would provide an estimated 97,100 megawatt-hours (MWh) of firm energy each year.

Need for the Project

Power from the Project would be initially transmitted to Sitka to augment hydroelectric generation within the Electric Department’s existing service area.  The City has prepared several recent energy forecast documents all stressing the need, based on increased demand for hydroelectric rather than diesel generation, for additional installed hydroelectric capacity. 

The most recent of those forecasts, prepared by D. Hittle and Associates in September, 2008, concluded that energy needs in the Sitka service area were increasing faster than predicted in 2005.  At that time, the Sitka electric load forecast was based on the historic 0.8 percent per year growth rate.  In 2006, oil price increases and new business starts in Sitka brought overall load increases to over 5 percent. In 2007 and 2008 the load continued to increase at 3-5 percent, even with decreased oil prices. The City, in 2008 revised its load growth forecast to reflect a conservative 1.9 percent growth rate for future planning.  Under this growth rate, it was predicted that  by 2020, there would be significant requirement for additional diesel generation if hydroelectric capacity was not increased.  Beyond 2020, further load increases would entail diesel requirements which could not be met even with the City’s current proposal to expand the existing Blue Lake hydroelectric project.  Overall current load forecast, with reference to the Takatz Lake development and other Sitka generating resources.

The need for additional hydroelectric power throughout Southeast Alaska to offset rising diesel fuel costs should also be considered under needs for the Takatz Project.  The City will participate in ongoing comprehensive planning efforts in the region to determine how the Project might, through development of a submarine intertie to the east, supply power to the communities of, variously, Kake, Angoon, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan.  The City believes, in the absence of such interconnection, that the Project would be fully justified based on future needs in the Sitka Electric service area.

 

LICENSE PROCESS

The City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department (“City”) holds a Preliminary Permit (“Permit”) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC, Commission) for the proposed Takatz Lake hydroelectric project (“Project”), FERC No. 13234-000-AK.  The Permit preserved the City’s rights to conduct feasibility studies for the Project for a period of 36 months beginning September 19, 2008, the Permit’s issuance date.

In January of 2012, the City was granted a Successive Preliminary Permit by FERC. This permit preserves the City's rights to conduct feasibility studies for the Project for a period of 36 months beginning January 1, 2012.

The Permits included the requirement for the City to utilize the Commission’s Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) as described in 18 CFR, Chapter 1, Section 5.5 of the Federal Regulations.  The Permits also state that an Applicant may utilize either of two other licensing methods, the Traditional (TLP) or the Alternative Licensing Process  (ALP) on approval by the Commission.   

For the Takatz Lake Project, the City has decided to request use of the ALP.  An applicant’s request for use of ALP must include documentation of approval by Project Stakeholders, of both the licensing process and a Communications Protocol (CP) governing communications during the pre-filing period. 

Licensing Process Descriptions

ILP

The efficiencies expected to be achieved through the ILP are founded in three fundamental principles:

  • Early issue identification and resolution of studies needed to fill information gaps, avoiding studies post-filing;
  • Integration of other stakeholder permitting process needs; and
  • Established time frames to complete process steps for all stakeholders, including the Commission.

ALP

As part of the alternative licensing process, an applicant can:

  • Tailor the pre-filing consultation process to the circumstances of each case;
  • Combine into a single process the pre-filing consultation process and environmental review processes under the National Environmental Policy Act and other statutes; and
  • Allow for preparation of a preliminary draft environmental assessment by an applicant or an environmental impact statement by a contractor chosen by the Commission and funded by the applicant.

Having successfully utilized the ALP for the Blue Lake Hydro Project (FERC No. 2230) relicensing, the City believes it can achieve the objectives of ILP while implementing the ALP on the Takatz Lake Project.

Under the ALP, the City would, with FERC direction and approval, conduct NEPA Scoping (the public participation process to solicit comments on environmental issues) and prepare and submit a Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment (PDEA) with the license application.  The Final EA, which will serve as the basis for conditions of the new license, will be prepared by the FERC after their independent review of the PDEA and project record.

 

LICENSE APPLICATION SCHEDULE

Generally, the timeline for the License Application is as follows:

Activity or Milestone
Timeline

PAD/NOI/ALP Request

March 20, 2009

FERC approves use of ALP

April 28, 2009

Scoping Document 1 issued

September 4, 2009

Scoping

October 7-8, 2009

Scoping Document 2

June, 2010

Study Planning

Fall 2009, Spring 2010

Spring 2011, Fall 2011

Spring 2012, Fall 2012

Spring 2013, Fall 2013

Study Execution

2009-2013

Engineering Studies

2009-2013

Draft License Application (DLA) to Stakeholders

Spring, 2014

Stakeholders Comment on DLA

Spring-Summer 2014

Final License Application filed with FERC

August 31, 2014

 

CONTACTING THE CITY

If you have any questions regarding the Takatz Lake Hydroelectric Project, please do not hesitate to contact:
Bryan Bertacchi, Utility Director
City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department
105 Jarvis Street, Sitka, AK, 99835,

907-747-1870
bryan.bertacchi@cityofsitka.org

 

STAKEHOLDER LIST

This website will maintain a Mailing List of the names, contact information and affiliations of those who, through their resource agency missions or other interest in the Project, are routinely copied on all Project correspondence. If you wish to be on the Participant list, please contact Mr. Brewton at the contact numbers above. The Mailing List will be updated from time to time and kept current through the link in this website Section.

 

MAJOR PROJECT LICENSING MILESTONES

 

The major milestones in the Project licensing schedule are:
• Notice of Intent and Public Information Files
• Initial Consultation Document and Meeting
• Request to Use Alternative Licensing Process
• Bi-annual Reports Required by ALP
• Scoping
• Study Planning, Execution and Reporting
(in progress)

• Issuance of Preliminary Permit

• Issuance of Successive Preliminary Permit

These Milestones are described in detail in following Sections, with links to associated documents and other material.

Notice of Intent (NOI) and Rationale for Project

The NOI is simply a letter to the FERC Secretary indicating the City’s intent to seek and amendment to the existing license.  Appended to the NOI, was a document providing background and rationale for the Expansion.  The City filed the NOI and Background Document with the FERC on March 20, 2009. 

Request to Use Alternative Licensing Process  (ALP)

The City has announced its intention to utilize the Alternative Licensing Process (ALP), a process authorized by the FERC to streamline application processes.  Under the ALP, the City would conduct certain elements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and would prepare a Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment (PDEA).  Use of the ALP retains all of the public participation and independent federal review elements of the Traditional Licensing Process.

The City sent a letter requesting use of the ALP to the FERC on March 20, 2009,   accompanied by a Draft Communications Protocol (CP). The final CP was completed March 19, 2009. The CP identifies participants and directs communications, meetings, documentation and review of Project documents.  The CP was agreed upon by various stakeholder agencies including the USFW, ADNR, ADF&G and the US Forest Service.

Bi-annual Reports Required by ALP

The FERC regulations require that applicant’s using the ALP submit status reports every six months from the time of ALP approval. The first bi-annual progress report for the Project was submitted to the FERC for preliminary review in March, 2009.


The
second bi-annual progress report was submitted to the FERC and Project mailing list members in September, 2009.  The third bi-annual progress report was submitted to the FERC and Project mailing list members in February, 2010.  The fourth bi-annual progress report was submitted to the FERC and Project mailing list members on August 23, 2010.
The fifth bi-annual progress report was sent March 1, 2011. The sixth bi-annual progress report was sent August 29, 2011. This was the final reporting period for the Preliminary Permit.

The first bi-annual progress report for the Second Preliminary Permit was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on June 26, 2012. The second bi-annual progress report was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on December 18, 2012. The third bi-annual progress report was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on June 27, 2013. The fourth bi-annual progress report was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on December 24, 2013.

Scoping Meeting and Documents

Scoping is a process required under the NEPA of 1969, the objective of which is development of a list of environmental issues to be addressed through the environmental review process of a federal action.  Scoping Process requirements include distribution of Scoping Documents, describing the proposed action and a list of preliminary issues.

On August 27, 2009 the City prepared a Scoping Document I (SDI) containing a project description, and a preliminary listing of expected environmental impact issues.  There was then a Scoping Document Amendment issued on September 3, 2009.  After review of this document, the public and agencies were invited to a Scoping Meeting, held on October 7 and October 8, 2009, to discuss and comment on the licensing process and Project-related impact issues.

Comments were received on SDI and it was revised into a Draft Scoping Document 2 (SD2) which was distributed for final agency review on June 16, 2010.

Study Planning, Execution, and Reporting

Fisheries and Wildlife Study Planning and Meeting(s)

On May 13th , 2010, the City conducted a formal planning meeting for fisheries and wildlife studies at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) conference room in the Juneau federal building. Prior to this meeting, the City distributed a Draft Fisheries Study Plan and a Draft Wildlife Study Plan, both via e-mail.

Details of these plans were discussed at the meeting. Final minutes were prepared for this meeting.

The Final Wildlife Study Plan was distributed to the FERC and the Project mailing list on May 28, 2010.

The draft Fisheries Report for 2010 studies and the draft Wildlife Report for 2010 studies were distributed to the FERC and select stakeholders on March 21, 2011 and March 22, 2011, respectively. 

A meeting was held in the City Electric Department conference room on April 27, 2011 to discuss studies for the upcoming field season.  Final minutes for the fisheries and wildlife meetings were prepared and sent to stakeholders.  After input from the meetings Draft 2011 Study Plans were prepared for Fisheries and Wildlife. The Final 2011 Fisheries Study Plan was filed with the FERC and sent to stakeholders on June 27, 2011.  The Final 2011 Wildlife Study Plan was filed with the FERC and sent to stakeholders on July 1, 2011.

A Draft Fisheries Investigation Report for 2011 was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on March 27, 2012. On April 30, 2012, a Draft Wildlife Report for 2011 was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC.

On July 9, 2012, the Draft 2012 Aquatic Resources Study Plan was sent to a group of stakeholders. On July 17, 2012, the Draft 2012 Wildlife Resources Study Plan was sent to stakeholders.

The Final 2011 Wildlife Report was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on July 30, 2012 and the Final 2011 Fisheries Investigation Report was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on July 31,2012.

Botanical Study Planning and Reporting

A Draft Botanical Study Plan was submitted for review by the FERC and the Project mailing list members on August 16, 2010. The Final Botanical Study Plan was submitted to the FERC and Project stakeholders on May 2, 2011. A Draft Botanical Study Report was submitted to the FERC and Project Stakeholders on February 2, 2012.

A Draft Botanical Resources Studies Report for 2011 was sent to stakeholders and filed with FERC on March 27, 2012.

Stakeholders were notified on May 17, 2012, that the Draft Botanical Resources Report for the Baranof and Medvejie Valleys segments study area was available at this link because of the large size of the report. The report was also filed with FERC.

On January 15, 2014, a Draft Botanical Report was sent to stakeholders for comments. No written comments requesting changes to the report were received, so Final Report was distributed to stakeholders and e-filed with FERC on February 26, 2014.

Aesthetics Resources Study Planning

A Draft Aesthetics Resources Study Plan was submitted for review by the FERC and the Project mailing list members on August 24, 2010. The Final Aesthetics Resources Study Plan was submitted to the FERC and Project mailing list members on February 3, 2011.

On April 16, 2013, the Draft Scenery Report was sent to stakeholders for comment. On August 22, 2013, the Final Scenery Resources Report, Part 1 of 3, 2 of 3, and 3 of 3) were filed with FERC and sent to stakeholders.

Recreation Resources Study Planning and Reporting

The Draft Recreation Resources Study Plan was sent to the project stakeholders on May 27, 2011.  The Final Recreation Resources Study Plan was submitted the FERC and Project stakeholders on July 12, 2011. A Draft Recreation Report and Draft Recreation Report Appendix were submitted to the FERC and Project Stakeholders on January 30, 2012. On May 24, 2012, the Final Recreation Resources Report with Appendix was distributed to stakeholders and filed with FERC.

Cultural Resources Report

A Draft Cultural Resources Plan was e-filed with FERC and sent to a restricted list of stakeholders on June 17, 2010. A Final Plan was e-filed and distributed to the same on August 18, 2010.

A Draft Report was e-filed with FERC and sent out to a restricted list of stakeholders on April 11, 2011.

The Final Cultural Resources Report was e-filed with FERC on February 7, 2012 and sent to a restricted list of stakeholders on February 10, 2012.

Engineering Studies

Overhead Transmission Line Feasibility Review Report

There was a study conducted in July, 2010, by Commonwealth and Associates to determine the feasibility of an overhead line as an alternative to a submarine cable. The Review Report was submitted to the FERC and project stakeholders on February 14, 2011.

Project Capacity Analysis Study Report

There was a study conducted by Currents Consulting to study the appropriate generating capability at Takatz Lake. The Study Report was submitted to the FERC and project stakeholders on June 21, 2011.

Southeast Alaska HDVC System Report

In February 2011 supplemental information was compiled into a report explaining the feasibility to interconnect Sitka, Kake and Petersburg.  The proposed line would constitute an important section of the Southeast Alaska Intertie Plan. 

ISSUANCE OF PRELIMINARY PERMIT

On January 18, 2012, the FERC granted the City a Successive Preliminary Permit and Granting Priority to File License Application, effective January 1, 2012.

MEETINGS

The City held a meeting the US Forest Service representatives in Sitka, Alaska on September 10, 2010.  This meeting was regarding issues relating to the Inventory Roadless Areas within the Takatz Project boundary.  There were official meeting minutes generated and submitted to the FERC on October 21, 2010.

There are currently no scheduled meetings related to feasibility studies or licensing. As meeting dates and subjects become known, they will be listed at this location in this website.

 

City and Borough of Sitka, Electric Department

105 Jarvis Street, Sitka, Alaska  99835
(907)747-4000, Emergency number (24 hours a day): 907-747-6634 Fax: 907-747-3208
Business Hours:  Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.