By Marcy Stamper
The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) commissioners will consider two resolutions next week that could decide the fate of Enloe Dam — whether to reenergize it to generate power or to remove the dam from the Similkameen River.
The dam, near Oroville, has not produced power for more than 50 years, but the PUD has a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to retrofit the dam to generate power. The license requires the utility to start construction by the end of June.
The commissioners are looking at two options — asking FERC for an extension in the design phase, or beginning the process to explore removal of the dam. FERC grants extensions typically for two years, said PUD General Manager John Grubich.
If they decide to remove the dam, the PUD would have to submit a new application to FERC.
The PUD solicited proposals from entities interested in building and operating the dam, but the two proposals they received did not contain the essential requirements, according to the resolutions.
The PUD also sought an entity to serve as the lead agency for dam removal, but a proposal from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation did not satisfy the PUD’s requirements to absorb all responsibility and liability.
The estimated cost to build the dam is $39 million, on top of $12 million already spent on the licensing process, said Grubich.
The Hydropower Reform Coalition, which has been in discussions with the PUD about dam removal, has estimated removal would cost $35 million.
A decision on the two resolutions is scheduled during the PUD’s Monday (Feb. 9) meeting at its Okanogan headquarters at 2:30 p.m.