From Snohomish County PUD:
After a thorough review of its Integrated Resource Plan, the Snohomish County PUD Board of Commissioners has directed its staff to pursue a range of
future energy resources identified in the plan, with a continued emphasis on cost-effective conservation and renewable energy resources.
PUD staff was directed not to pursue a final federal license for the Sunset Falls hydropower project on the South Fork Skykomish River at this time.
The IRP, a long range energy planning document, has forecasted that on an annual basis, over the next 10 years, due to expected energy conservation,
the PUD will not need the additional energy that the Sunset Hydropower Project would provide. The IRP is expected to be formally adopted by the
PUD Commission in May.
“Our planning process has concluded that our considerable success with energy conservation by the utility and its customers has helped minimize the
need for new energy resources,” said PUD Commission President Kathy Vaughn. “However, if higher growth occurs over the longer term, 10 years or
beyond, the PUD could seek out additional energy resources in the mid-2020s time period.”
Since 2009, the PUD has worked to study and assess the potential for a hydropower project on the South Fork Skykomish River. Working under the guidelines
set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the PUD sought input from a broad range of stakeholders, including interested members of the public,
federal and state agencies, and local tribes. Despite the value of the hydropower project – as a local, carbon-free resource that fits well with
higher customer winter demand needs – the PUD has decided not to pursue a final application with FERC for the Sunset Hydropower project.
The research of the Sunset Project was part of a larger effort by the PUD to identify viable hydropower projects in the region. In 2009-2010 the utility
did considerable work to develop a list of 140 sites in four counties in Western Washington. This list was then short-listed to 30 sites and then
to about a dozen. Numerous stakeholders provided input to the site reviews. For three sites, FERC draft licenses applications were filed, including
the Sunset Project.Two other projects were subsequently developed at Hancock and Calligan Creeks above Snoqualmie Falls, northeast of North Bend,
Content and Image Courtesy of Snohomish County PUD.