By Paul Moreno
CHICO — PG&E is soliciting proposals from parties interested in acquiring its DeSabla-Centerville hydroelectric facilities in Butte County.
PG&E is also seeking offers to purchase its Lime Saddle and Coal Canyon powerhouses and their associated infrastructure, which can be purchased separately or bundled with the DeSabla-Centerville facilities.
In February 2017, PG&E submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a withdrawal of its application for a new license to continue operation of DeSabla-Centerville. This occurred because the facility is no longer an economic source of electric generation for PG&E’s customers. An increasingly competitive energy market, declining demand for electricity from PG&E and the increasing cost of operating the facilities were all factors in PG&E’s decision.
The solicitation is in response to FERC’s directive to PG&E to seek interest by any entity in potentially acquiring the DeSabla-Centerville facility, whether through license transfer, filing of a new license application, or any other means.
Depending on how many proposals are received and need to be evaluated, PG&E expects to select a proposal and begin formal negotiations in January.
“Price is not the only criteria. PG&E wants to find a buyer who has experience in operating a hydroelectric system, working within the relevant regulatory processes, and providing protections for listed species like spring-run Chinook salmon. The project has many unique characteristics and we believe it has the potential to yield significant value for the right owner,” said Debbie Powell, a senior director of power generation at PG&E.
Sale of the facilities will require approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. A license transfer also would be required from the FERC for the DeSabla-Centerville Project. The Lime Saddle and Coal Canyon Powerhouses are not licensed by FERC. PG&E intends to continue to operate the facilities in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements until ownership is transferred.
The DeSabla-Centerville project includes the DeSabla Powerhouse (18.5 megawatts), the Toadtown Powerhouse (1.5 MW) and the Centerville Powerhouse (6.4 MW). The Lime Saddle Powerhouse is rated at 2 MW and the Coal Canyon Powerhouse at 0.9 MW.
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