In recommending the issue of new licences, the FEIS said that the four projects – Big Creek 2A, 8 and Eastwood; Big Creek 1 and 2; Big Creek 3; and, Mammoth Pool – would provide approximately 3177GWh of electricity per year. The installed capacity of the four projects is 865MW.

The annual net benefits of operating and maintaining the four projects listed – after FERC recommended additional improvements to those already planned – were calculated to be US$46.8M, US$29.9M, US$42.9M and almost US$32.2M, respectively.

The utility is using the alternative licensing process (ALP) and has not sought to increase installed capacity at the four projects, which are part of the Big Creek system that has three other projects. The entire system in the Upper San Joaquin river basin has seven FERC licences and operates in an integrated manner to maximise hydroelectric output from its nine plants, six major reservoirs and associated facilities.

The staff noted that the use of hydro power would mean the projects continue to help reduce fossil fuel use, atmospheric pollution and help conserve non-renewable energy resources.