Kerckhoff Relicensing Project (FERC #96)
Relicensing the Kerckhoff Hydroelectric Project
This page is an information resource for parties interested in the relicensing of PG&E's Kerckhoff Hydroelectric Project, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 96.
About the project
The Project (FERC Project No. 96) is located in the foothills of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada on the San Joaquin River in a sparsely populated area of Fresno and Madera counties, California. The Project is located about 25 miles northeast of the city of Fresno, at elevations between 500 and 1,000 feet above mean sea level. The closest communities to the Project are the towns of Auberry and Prather to the south and North Fork to the north.
The Project consists of Kerckhoff Reservoir formed by Kerckhoff Dam, two powerhouses (Kerckhoff 1 and Kerckhoff 2), two tunnels that convey water from the reservoir to the powerhouses, and appurtenant facilities and access roads. The Project also includes one developed recreation facility located on the northeast end of Kerckhoff Reservoir, referred to as Smalley Cove Recreation Area.
The Project facilities are located on public and private lands primarily owned by the U.S Forest Service (Sierra National Forest), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (primarily managed by BLM), and PG&E. The Project is located within the upper San Joaquin River basin, which is highly developed for hydroelectric generation, flood control, and irrigation storage. PG&E's Crane Valley Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 1354) and Southern California Edison's Big Creek Hydroelectric System are located upstream of the Kerckhoff Hydroelectric Project. Accordingly, the Project is operated to make maximum use of the water supply available from the upstream hydroelectric projects. Water used by the Project is released into the San Joaquin River and flows into Millerton Lake, located immediately downstream of the Kerckhoff 2 Powerhouse. Millerton Lake is part of the Central Valley Project and is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The relicensing process
The Project consists of two developments, referred to as Kerckhoff No. 1 and Kerckhoff No. 2, with a current combined total generating capacity of 180,200 kilowatts (kW). The Kerckhoff No. 1 Development was constructed by San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation in 1920. The Project was first licensed by the Federal Power Commission (predecessor to the current FERC) in 1922, for a term of 50 years. The license was transferred to PG&E in 1930. The Project was relicensed by FERC on November 8, 1979, and the Kerckhoff No. 2 Development was added to the system in 1983. The current FERC license expires on November 30, 2022.
PG&E operates and manages the Project in accordance with a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC Project No. 96). The existing FERC license expires November 30, 2022. PG&E has taken the initial steps required by the Federal Power Act and plans to use FERC’s default licensing process, the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP), to obtain a new license for the Project.
As part of the ILP, PG&E filed the required Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-Application Document (PAD) for the Project with FERC on November 16, 2017. Access the NOI and PAD at the FERC eLibrary.
Following the filing of the NOI and PAD, FERC issued Scoping Document 1 (SD1) on January 16, 2018. Access SD1 at the FERC eLibrary. SD1 provided the resource agencies, tribes, and other interested parties with FERC's preliminary list of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the relicensing process, and includes a Process Plan and Schedule in Appendix B. In general, the schedule includes: 1) FERC Study Plan Determination in September 2018; 2) early study season in 2018; 3) Initial Study Report by September 27, 2019; 4) main study season in 2019; 5) Updated Study Report by September 27, 2020; and 6) License Application filed no later than November 30, 2020.
On April 30, 2018, PG&E filed the Proposed Study Plan (PSP) for the Project with FERC. Access the PSP at the FERC eLibrary. The PSP addresses each of the study criteria and explains how the proposed studies address the issues raised during scoping and fill the information gaps identified by stakeholders.
FERC issued Scoping Document 2 (SD2) on April 30, 2018, as a result of the scoping meetings and comments received during the scoping process. Access SD2 at the FERC eLibrary.
In response to comment letters and meetings with the resource agencies, tribes, and other interested parties, PG&E modified the PSP and developed a Revised Study Plan (RSP). The RSP for the Project was filed with FERC on August 27, 2018. Access the RSP at the FERC eLibrary. The FERC Study Plan Determination was issued on September 24, 2018. Access the Study Plan Determination at the FERC eLibrary.
Participate in the relicensing process
Individuals or entities interested in participating in the relicensing process are encouraged to register with FERC. Once registered, FERC will notify you by email about new Kerckhoff Project filings and issuances.
In addition, PG&E will routinely update this page as the relicensing process progresses.
- Draft License Application (6/26/20)
- Stakeholder Meetings Summer/Fall 2020 (PDF, 167 KB)
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
- FERC eLibrary
- Relicensing Documents
- Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-Application Document (PAD)
- Scoping Document 1 (SD1)
- PG'E's Proposed Study Plan and Meeting Announcement
- Scoping Document 2 (SD2)
- PG&E's Revised Study Plan
- FERC Study Plan Determination
- Initial Study Report
- Initial Study Report Meeting Summary
- Comments Filed with FERC on the Initial Study Report:
National Park Service
- PG&E’s Initial Study Report Response to Comments