jordanelle dam

Jordanelle dam

The Project is not licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) but is authorized through a lease of power privilege from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Reclamation’s (BuRec) Central Utah Project (CUP) which is an alternative to DOI for development of federal hydropower. By letter dated August 16, 2000, DOI selected the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) and Heber Light and Power (HL&P) as the potential joint lessees for development of the hydropower at Jordanelle Dam under a lease of power privilege.

Project Name Jordanelle
LIHI Certificate Number 29
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
June 10, 2015
June 10, 2023
Owner Central Utah Water Conservancy District
State Utah
Location Located on the downstream side of Jordanelle Dam below Jordanelle Reservoir; both are located on the Provo River in Wasatch County, approximately four miles north of Heber City, Utah.
Installed Capacity 12 MW
Average Annual Generation 39,000 MWh
Facility Type
FERC No. n/a

A lease of power privilege grants a non-federal entity the right to utilize, consistent with CUP purpose, water power head and storage at and/or operationally in conjunction with the CUP, for non-federal electric power generation and sale by the entity. The general authority for lease of power privilege under BuRec legal statutes includes among others, the Town Sites and Power Development Act of 1906 and the Reclamation Project Act of 1939. Development of a federal power project for the Jordanelle Dam, because by December 2002, when federal power was authorized for funding, Department of the Interior (DOI) had already selected a potential lessee and entered into negotiations.

In 2005, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969.  The DOI/CUPCA Office and CUWCD were Joint Lead Agencies for preparation of the EA. The BuRec and the Utah Reclamation, Mitigation, and Conservation Commission served as cooperating agencies for the NEPA analysis.

The EA addresses several purposes of the project, which include:

  • Allow the execution of a Lease of Power Privilege for the Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric Project
  • Allow the construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities and transmission lines associated with the Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric Project
  • Meet the objectives of hydroelectric power potential at Jordanelle Dam, which is a CUP facility, as authorized through the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP) Act of April 11, 1956
  • Avoid impacts to natural resources (Jordanelle Reservoir and the Provo River)
  • Avoid impacts to federal projects and facilities (Jordanelle Dam and associated features)
  • Generate hydroelectric power as an incidental use to the delivery of water for CUP purposes, which includes municipal and industrial water supply, irrigation supply, flood control, and fish and wildlife
  • Protect water quality in Jordanelle Reservoir and the Provo River

This EA updates and uses information and data from the 2004 Final EIS for the Utah Lake Drainage Basin Water Delivery System (ULS) and the Municipal and Industrial System (M&I) Final Supplement relative to the construction of a hydroelectric power plant and associated facilities. The operation of the Jordanelle Dam and Reservoir with the new hydroelectric project in place will remain the same as described in the 2004 ULS EIS.

The EA found no significant issues associated with implementing the project, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was prepared by the Lead Agencies. The project is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion and commercial operation in mid 2008.

Facility Description

Jordanelle Dam is a rolled earthfill structure with a fuse plug emergency spillway and outlet works.   The reservoir has a storage capacity of 311,000 acre-feet at elevation 6,166.4 feet. The total reservoir storage capacity is 361,500 acre-feet at elevation 6,182.0.

The rolled earth embankment section of Jordanelle Dam has a structural height of 300 feet and a crest length of 3820 feet at elevation 6185.0 feet.  The emergency fuse plug spillway is located near the left abutment and consists of an unlined inlet channel, a concrete lined trapezoidal channel, an earthen plug section, a concrete chute, and a 9.5-foot by 10-foot concrete double box conduit. The design flow of the spillway is 5,510 cfs at elevation 6182.0 feet.

The outlet works is located within the left abutment and consists of two primary outlet works intake structures one (LLOW) Low level outlet works and one (SLOW) selective level outlet works merging into a common outlet pipe and a bypass system. The capacities for the outlet works are 3,269 cfs and 2,153 cfs respectively at elevation 6,086.7. The bypass system taps into both the SLOW and LLOW upstream of the emergency gates with a capacity of 300 cfs at elevation 6,166.0 feet.

The primary purpose of the reservoir is to provide municipal and irrigation water for use in Salt Lake City and northern Utah County. Additional project purposes include flood control, recreation, Heber Valley irrigation water, and fish and wildlife enhancement.

Powerhouse – The powerhouse is a reinforced concrete structure located partially within the rock berm at the toe of the dam, west of the existing outlet works. The penstock is constructed from the 72-inch-diameter connection in the outlet conduit and then routed to the powerhouse where it bifurcates into two 66-inch-diameter pipes feeding the turbines.

The floor of the powerhouse is set at an elevation above the high tailwater elevation. This elevation allows maintenance to be performed on the turbines without the need to de-water the tailrace. The turbines, generators, and all mechanical equipment are located at this level. The turbines discharge into a tailrace channel below the turbine floor.

The major equipment located on the turbine floor includes two turbine/generator units; turbine controllers; turbine inlet valves located on the penstock to each turbine; a hydraulic power unit for each unit and valve; and sump pumps.  The powerhouse arrangement includes a control room area. A control room is required to house the control panels, switchgear, motor control center, panel boards, batteries, and battery chargers. The control room is isolated from the turbine floor and sound-proofed to provide a quiet space for the operator. It is located above the turbine floor to protect the equipment from potential flooding, and is located near the plant substation to minimize conduit and cable runs.

The power plant houses two horizontal Francis turbines, each rated at approximately 300 cubic feet per second (cfs). The turbines drive synchronous generators with output ratings of about 6 megawatts (MW) each and speeds of 600 revolutions per minute (rpm). Each generating unit is equipped with a butterfly inlet valve, manual and automatic controls, and electrical switchgear. Electric power is generated at 12.47 kV, then stepped up via a transformer, as necessary, to the transmission voltage at the power plant’s nearby substation.

The capacity of the power plant is based upon the installation of two turbine generators, identical in size, and rated 6 MW at 300 cfs each. The project is expected to generate 39,000 MWH annually.

Transmission Facilities – The generated electric power will be transmitted to the site of interconnection with the utility’s facilities via a new, and upgraded existing, overhead 12.47-kV, 3-phase, wood pole assemblies. A pole-mounted isolation switch will be installed. Metering will be performed by the existing HL&P system, and at the Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric Project powerhouse.

jordanelle powerhouse

Jordanelle powerhouse.

Certification History

June 10, 2016: LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board, has certified that the Jordanelle Hydroelectric Project satisfies the LIHI Certificate Criteria. A Preliminary Decision was announced on May 6, 2016, and a 30-day appeal period was open through June 6, 2016. No requests for appeal were received. The Certification Decision includes one facility-specific condition, as follows:

  • Condition 1. The facility owner shall continue to work proactively with the USFWS on the June Sucker Recovery Program. As part of its annual compliance letter to LIHI, the owner shall provide a statement confirming that it has released the committed flows identified in its June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program (JSRIP) from the Jordanelle Project for the recovery of the June sucker during the prior year, within the limits of the owners Lease of Power Privilege agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. Also, verification shall be provided annually that the owner has discussed and reached agreement with the USFWS pertaining to these releases as part of the JSRP.

The effective certification date for the Jordanelle Project is June 10, 2015 for an eight (8) year term, which will expire on June 10, 2023.

October 28, 2015: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Jordanelle Hydroelectric project.  The application materials can be found below.

The public comment period for this application closed on December 28, 2015.

June 19, 2015: The Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric project has been granted an extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is December 31, 2015. See ExtensionLetter_2015Recert for explanation below.

December 13, 2007: The Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for an eight year term, effective June 10, 2007 and expiring June 10, 2015.

June 10, 2007: The Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) has submitted an application for certification of the Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric Project. A comment period will remain open for 60 days, until August 10, 2007.


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