It’s official: Chelan PUD starts formal relicensing process for Rock Island Hydro Project

by Rachel Hansen | Dec 04, 2023

The road to relicensing Rock Island Hydroelectric Project officially begins Dec. 15. (audio at 01:12:00 of the board meeting recording)

Chelan PUD has operated Rock Island for 68 years. The next license will be Rock Island’s third.

The license is a 30-50 year permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that authorizes Chelan PUD to continue generating power. The current 40-year license for Rock Island – Chelan PUD’s second largest power producer – expires in 2028.

“Our values – safety, stewardship, trustworthiness and operational excellence – have given our team clear direction,” said Hydro Licensing Manager Janel Ulrich. “Chelan PUD’s objectives are to address project impacts while preserving economic stability, and strengthen relationships through this process.” 

Relicensing is a public process that requires Chelan PUD and FERC to evaluate the resources associated with the project, including: fish and wildlife, flood control, power generation, cultural resources, recreation and other aspects of environmental quality.

The new license will require the PUD to invest in protection, mitigation and enhancement measures. FERC determines what those measures should be based on scientific studies and historical information.

The formal process takes a minimum of five years, but Chelan PUD has been preparing since 2021. The utility has conducted six formal studies and three evaluations, and organized several technical working groups that involve more than 130 people from 43 entities.

Chelan PUD will file a pre-application document and notice of intent to relicense this month. The final license application is due Dec. 31, 2026. A new license may be issued as soon as January 2029.

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved a purchase and sale agreement with YMCA for part of the Fifth Street campus (01:42:00)

• Approved the 2024 operating and capital budget as submitted Nov. 20. (about 01:38:00)

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Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320
Libby Siebens: (509) 661-8291

Outages or Emergencies

Visit our Safety and Outage Center for information, or to report an outage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-877-PUD-8123.


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