Nevada Irrigation District Council approves purchase of PG&E power plant and canals


The Nevada Irrigation District has reached an agreement to purchase a PG&E hydroelectric power plant and associated canals for a grand total of $ 1.

The Water District Board of Directors on Wednesday authorized General Manager Rem Scherzinger to sign an agreement to purchase PG&E facilities at Deer Creek, including the power plant and related assets, across the entire Chalk Bluff Canal and most of the South Yuba Canal.

The Deer Creek Generating Station at Scotts Flat, which has a generating capacity of 5.7 megawatts, was the first hydroelectric project ever built by then-nascent Pacific Gas in 1908.

“It is considered a fully amortized asset,” said water district spokeswoman Susan Lauer. “NID and PG&E both recognize this. “

PG&E was looking to sell the Deer Creek facility as it no longer serves as an economical source of power generation for its customers, Lauer said, highlighting an increasingly competitive energy market, lower expected generation needs. on the PG&E system and the increase in operating costs of the facilities as factors.

The Water District has been negotiating the sale for seven years, board member Nick Wilcox said, noting that PG&E initially wanted $ 17 million.

“They didn’t want it anymore and we needed it,” Wilcox said. “We bought it for a dollar and have made a huge asset to our community.”

The sale will also include Deer Creek Forebay, a small reservoir that supplies water to the powerhouse. As part of the sale, the Waters District will dedicate a 700-acre conservation easement to the Bear Yuba Land Trust to protect the transferred lands from future development.

“The Chalk Bluff and South Yuba canals are important components for NID water deliveries,” Scherzinger said. “More than 30,000 people are served by this canal system, including the towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City, the local fire stations, the Grass Valley air attack base, the fire hydrant systems of the county and town, schools and the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and California Public Utilities Commission approval will be required prior to transfer of ownership.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is urged to create a separate hydroelectric license for the Deer Creek facility. They are currently bundled with the federal license of PG&E’s Drum-Spaulding Project, which includes several power plants, dams, reservoirs and water systems in Placer and Nevada counties.

It’s unclear when the sale will be final and ownership will transfer, but the sale is expected to close in 2019.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or email [email protected]


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