Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

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Anthony M. Jones Response to CCE’s Motion for Protective Order – June 30, 2020

What the Anderson Ranch Reservoir view might look like when the Cat Creek Energy project is finished.

Anthony Jones was retained by the S Bar Ranch to evaluate Cat Creek Energy’s Motion for Protective Order regarding its planned pumped hydroelectric storage facility on Little Camas Prairie in Elmore County, Idaho. That planed pumped hydroelectric storage facility entails creating a new reservoir on the bluffs about 800 feet above Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The proposed water right that would be used to fill the Cat Creek Energy Reservoir currently doesn’t exist.

Mr. Jones researched the Cat Creek Energy idea of building the pumped hydroelectric storage facility, plus a large scale solar and wind turbine complex. His conclusions tell us the financial viability of the Cat Creek Energy project along the Highway 20 Corridor in Elmore County is questionable at best. Mr. Jones also suggests Cat Creek Energy, LLC is trying to keep critical project information and documentation from public scrutiny under a guise of a proprietary exemption. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Read Mr. Jones’ 12 talking points below.   

Download the full [Download not found] legal document that is partially included below. 


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Declaration of Anthony M. Jones in Support of SBar Ranch, LLC and the District at ParkCenter, LLC’s Response to Motion for Protective Order and Renewed Motion for Rule 40.05b Order for Applicant to Submit Complete Rule 40.05 Information 

ANTHONY M. JONES, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:

1. I hold a B.S. degree in economics from Idaho State University and an M.A. degree in
economics, from the University of Washington
.

2. As detailed in my curriculum vitae attached hereto as Exhibit A, I have substantial
experience and expertise in the field of energy project economics
.

3. Currently, I am the Principal of Rocky Mountain Econometrics, a consulting energy
economics firm in Boise
, Idaho.

4. I was retained by SBar Ranch, LLC and The District at ParkCenter, LLC to evaluate
Cat Creek Energy LLC
s claims of proprietary and trade secret information in its June 16, 2020,
Motion for Protective Order and associated Declarations in this proceeding. In connection with
my work
, in addition to reviewing the Motion for Protective Order and associated Declarations, I
also have reviewed Cat Creeks Applications for Water Right Permit Nos. 6334403, 6334652,
63
34897 and 6334900, Idaho Code 42203A(5)(d), Idaho Water Appropriation Rule 40.05(f)
and Shokal v. Dunn, 109 Idaho 330, 707 P.2d 441 (1985), as well as other publicly available
information and pertinent materials available to me
.

5. I reached the opinions presented here by applying accepted methodology in the field
of energy economics
. The opinions expressed here are my own and are based on the data and
facts available to me at the time of writing
. I hold the opinions set forth here to a reasonable
degree of economic science certainty
.

6. The Cat Creek project will be located geographically in Idaho Power Company’s
(
IPC) territory and will connect to the Western Grid. When generating, it will produce roughly
25% as much power as does IPC total
. It will produce more power than Brownlee Dam, IPC’s
largest hydro project and nearly as much as IPC’s largest coal plant, Jim Bridger
.

7. When pumping water back to its reservoir, the Cat Creek project will consume even
more power
than it generates, comprising approximately 25% of IPC’s total firm load, roughly
equivalent to the load of the Treasure Valley
, on top of IPC’s existing firm load.

8. The Pacific Northwest, where Cat Creeks project will be located, has the most
intensively developed hydroelectric energy industry in the United States, perhaps the world. The
major players
, Bonneville Power Administration, Avista, IPC, and Pacificorp, all have hydro
projects that also provide energy storage that can be used for load shaping and energy
storage
. They all have programs in place to provide, both for themselves and for independent
power providers, the exact same service CCE is proposing
.

9. Pumped storage is reviewed on page 54 of IPCs most recent 2019 Amended
Integrated Resource
Plan (“IRP”). In the IRP, IPC gives pumped storage an economic thumbs
down
, noting, Historically, the differential between peak and offpeak energy prices in the
Pacific Northwest has
not been sufficient enough to make pumped storage an economically
viable resource
.” (Page 54 of IPCs most recent IRP is attached hereto as Exhibit B.) In the IRP,
IPC puts the levelized cost of pumped storage at around $175 /MWh
. That cost compares
unfavorably with open market prices averaging less than $30/MWh and load shaping service
from the major players for less
than $50/MWh.

10. Given that the process of storing energy via the pump storage process has been
developed and well understood for decades; that the necessary pump
turbines, control
mechanisms,
etc. are commercially available from multiple vendors offering nearly identical
performance criteria; that at least 24 other pump
storage projects, many of similar sizes and
configurations
, all connected to the same Western Grid, all dedicated to serving the same daily
mismatches in the supply and demand curves, are currently working their way through the
application process; that competition for and supply of investment funding is universal and
seemingly instantly balancing
, nothing presented suggests that CCEs solution to energy storage
is
an improvement on the same process studied and shelved by the regions major utilities or
superior
to the other projects being promoted in other areas. One would expect that a dramatic
technological improvement
to pumped storage would be supported by one or more patent
applications
.

11. Bottom line, against this backdrop, Cat Creek Energy needs to be able to establish
that it will be able to cost effectively participate in this competitive energy marketplace
. If there
is no assurance that its project will be economically viable, there can be no reason to expect that
it is reasonably probable financing can be secured
.

12. At approximately 5 years away from operation, as I understand Cat Creek Energy
claims to be based on
a review of its project timeline provided as CCE-X-00039, it should be
able to
provide the full terms of its capital funding arrangements, including the amount and terms
of debt commitments
, the amount and terms of equity commitments, and the interest rates,
amortization schedules, provisions for default, anticipated cash flows, prospective balance
sheets
, the cost and income relationships associated with CCEs wind, solar, pumpstorage,
irrigation
, municipal water, and irrigation district operations, etc., for the life of the project. The
only potentially confidential items that may need redaction would be the identity of the parties
committing to provide the capital
. This redacted information should be provided to the Hearing
Officer, however
.


I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

DATED THIS 30th day of June, 2020.

 

 

~ signed ~
Anthony M
. Jones

 

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You can download the full legal document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/1093/

Thanks for any support you can offer in getting the Cat Creek Energy project sent back to the Elmore County Commissioners for an honest reevaluation of the entire project. The people of Elmore County, Idaho deserve better. 

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A Pine, Idaho Homeowner Explains Why “The Project” is Bad for the County

Elk and mule deer migration patterns be disrupted.

  • The Cat Creek Energy site would be built within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, raptors, and fish and other animals like bats.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would be built in important sage grouse habitat.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would affect our fishery and water quality.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would create unacceptable noise pollution on Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

On May 16, 2019, Judge Nancy Baskin will have the opportunity to hear oral arguments that support the fact that the actions of Elmore County in regards to the Cat Creek Energy project approval were invalid. As a result we expect the judge will remand the project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission as early as July of this year.

Below you can read for yourself another of the many reasons we believe Judge Baskin will rule that the CUP approval process and the subsequent 2019 Development Agreement between Cat Creek and Elmore County were legally and procedural flawed.

 

Reference: Page 14 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Another opponent of the Project, Wendi Combs, a resident of Pine, Idaho, testified that the Project does not belong on Anderson Ranch Reservoir. She stated that “according to Fish and Game, the proposed site does lie within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, raptors, and fish and other animals like bats.

The area is an important sage grouse habitat. Sage grouse do not like tall structures, such as wind turbines, power lines, and towers. Displacement, avoidance and reduced nesting success are well documented.

Fish and Game are concerned about water quality impacts, entrainment of fish, particularly the bull trout, and endangered species. “We’re not talking about one, but six silos pumping water up and down the reservoir 24/7, 365 days a year,” their words in quotes.

Then there is the noise pollution that will affect all the surrounding neighbors and campsites rendering them practically useless for solace and enjoyment.

We invite you to read the full 64 pages of the Judicial Review document that S Bar Ranch filed with Fourth Judicial District of Idaho to right this Cat Creek Energy wrong.

Download the document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Take Action

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

or

See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

Thanks.

 

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More Are Concerned About Our Big Game Migration Corridors

Now is the time to have dialogue as a community and share knowledge about how we can create sustainable methods for protecting wildlife, while still respecting the need for ranches and farms. It’s about coexisting,” said Hunt To Eat Owner, Mahting Putelis.

We know many local hunters, outdoorsmen and wildlife enthusiasts are dead set against the Cat Creek Energy project that is planned for the backcountry of Elmore County. We all realize that this mega-energy project will have adverse affects on our deer, elk, pronghorn, raptor and game bird populations, as wells as our local fishery and water quality. Our local group of concerned citizens have friends in neighboring states also.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) is teaming up with “Hunt to Eat” to raise awareness and to educate people about wildlife migrations issues in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The Wildlife Federation and Hunt to Eat have organized a series of kickoff “migration” celebrations with the second event party set for Boise on May 1, 2019. This may be a good event to connect with others in the area to talk about protecting our deer, elk and pronghorn migration corridors in Elmore County.

Connect With Others

Connect with the Idaho Wildlife Federation on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IDWildlife/ or through their website at https://www.idahowildlife.org/

Connect with Hunt to Eat on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hnt2eat/ or on their website at https://hunttoeat.com/blogs/conservation/celebrating-wildlife-migrations?fbclid=IwAR1YDJf0Zs-ulhzr6zAQ8jBShpaQTWYsBHmNeWDVltAw-yS2qGGYrIW6JZI

Mark your calendar for this May 1, 2019 event in Boise and watch the above online links for more details about the celebration as it unfolds.

 

Thanks.

 

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Why “Harry” Believes Judge Baskin Will Remand the Cat Creek Energy Project Back to P & Z

Taken on Peak 5915 looking over the Castle Rocks and Wood Creek area of Elmore County, Idaho

 

Many Elmore County residents believe a District Court judge should remand the entire Cat Creek Energy project approval back to the County Planning and Zoning Commission (P & Z) for new and honest hearings. Our entire “Petition for Judicial Review” document is filled with legal, moral and ethical reason why we believe the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) erred in approving this ill-conceived project. A project covering 3,730 acres in the Elmore County, Idaho backcountry.

Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife and Scenic Beauty is at Stake

We realize how time-consuming attending the P & Z Commission meetings, hearing and deliberations in 2016 became. No one really believed Elmore County would every approve the Cat Creek Energy project. And those people were right. The P & Z Commission denied the permits Cat Creek Energy needed to begin the process of getting state and federal approval for their mega-energy project.

But then in 2017, the Elmore County Commissioners overruled their own P & Z Commission and handed that Gooding-based corporation the keys to our very own backcountry, the Anderson Ranch Reservoir and South Fork of the Boise River fishery, and will threaten our elk, deer and pronghorn populations.

Local Mountain Home, Idaho, resident Harry Taggart, “aka Skip,” testified in front of our county officials and offered the following facts …

Reference: Pages 10 and 11 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Harry Taggart, a resident of Mountain Home spoke and informed the Commissioners that he hunts and fishes throughout the South Fork of the Boise River basin, that he opposes the Project “because it would destroy the scenic beauty and environmental diversity of the area known as Wood Creek, which is right at the very doorstep of our splendid Boise and Sawtooth National Forests.”

Mr. Taggart also informed the Commissioners that he has “read and understood the Elmore County Comprehensive Plan, as well as Title 6, Chapter 14 of the Elmore County zoning and development ordinance defining areas of critical concern, which the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission is lawfully charged with protecting” and that he had read the minutes of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to deliberate Cat Creek Energy’s applications and he “agree[s] with the Commissions unanimous rejection of multiple Cat Creek Energy permit applications because they fall short of compliance with a minimum of 12 different Comprehensive Plan standards.

Harry Was Right Back Then and is Still Right

  • Destroying the scenic beauty of our backcounty with 500-foot tall wind turbines will not benefit the residents of Elmore County.

  • In approving the Cat Creek Energy Project, Commissioners Wes Wootan, Bud Corbus, and Al Hofer made a ruling in direct conflict with the county’s own Comprehensive Plan.

You can download and review the entire Petition for Judicial Review at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

 

Take Action

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

In addition, many of our elected officials from city mayor and on up the line to U.S. Senators could use some feedback from you. If you need their names or point of contact, we’ve created a list at https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

Thanks.

 

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National Forest Service Concerns Regarding the Cat Creek Energy Project

This “Bull Trout Country” sign is located just 5 miles west of the proposed Cat Creek Energy project lands.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and The National Forest Service commented about the concerns they have about the Generation Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, P-14655 portion of the Cat Creek Energy project back in October 2015. Those concerns have yet to be addressed as of late-March 2019.

A letter dated October 25, 2015, from Kimberly D. Bose from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) highlights their concerns that Cat Creek Energy needs to act in a timely manner and in good faith before they will issue a temporary permit to begin some very critical studies within the Elmore County backcountry. Their main area of concern is the South Fork of the Boise River basin and the Little Camas Prairie located about 18 miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho.

Reference: Page 4 and 5 of “FERC-COMMENTS of U.S. Forest Service on Cat Creek Energy Generation Pumped Storage“ document. Please feel free to download the 25 Oct 2015 letter by clicking HERE FERC-COMMENTS of U.S. Forest Service on Cat Creek Energy Generation Pumped Storage … or https://catcreek-energy.com/download/964/

 

Here is Just a Part of the National Forest Service / FERC Concerns

Fisheries Resources

The Anderson Ranch Reservoir fisheries resource consists of rainbow trout, bull trout, whitefish, chinook salmon, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass. South Fork Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir is a Blue Ribbon fishery consisting of rainbow trout, bull trout, mountain whitefish, and sculpin.

  • Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species (TES) and critical habitat
    Endangered Species Act

  • Bull trout are listed as a threatened species (63 FR 31647 31674) under the
    Endangered Species Act.

  • Anderson Ranch Reservoir up to full pool is designated critical habitat (75 FR
    63898 64070) under the Endangered Species Act.

  • South Fork Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir is designated critical habitat (75 FR 63898 64070) under the Endangered Species Act.


Concerns

  • Entrainment – bull trout and other species could be entrained when pumping
    water up to the holding basin.

  • Temperature – Increase in water temperature to Anderson Ranch Reservoir or the South Fork Boise River depending on the alternative considered and where water is released. The newly constructed dam would be a shallow reservoir and water temperatures would increase rapidly through solar radiation during hot summer months. An increase in water temperature could impact bull trout and could have effects on other fish resources within the reservoir.

  • Sediment – Increase in sediment from construction, maintenance and operation of hydroelectric facilities and associated power lines.

  • Supersaturation –  Supersaturation occurs when air becomes trapped in water
    spilled over a dam as it hits the pool below. If too much nitrogen is absorbed in the bloodstream of fish, air bubbles form and create the equivalent of what dives call “the bends” and fish die.

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/
or
See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

Thanks.

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Elmore County let Cat Creek Submit a new Master Site Plan in Nov. 2016?

Why would the County Commissions allow Cat Creek Energy to submit a new master site plan for the 3,730 acre mega-energy project in Elmore County’s backcountry without proper public notice?

Submitting a new master site plan is not permissible unless it is properly and legally “noticed.” That includes published legal notices in the local newspaper and the notifying residents that own property within one mile of the project area. The S Bar Ranch and other ranches would be within one mile of some of those huge 500-foot tall wind turbines if the county allows them to be built.

Those proposed wind turbines would also be located in a known and documented elk, deer and pronghorn migration corridor.

Reference: Pages 10 and 11 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Snippets from the document

On August 26, 2016, the Developer submitted an appeal from the P&Z Order to the Board of County Commissioners of Elmore County (the “Board”) and Supplement Appeal on October 25, 2016. The Board heard the matter in public hearings on November 16, 2016 and 17, 2016, and December 16, 2016

At the hearing on November 16, 2016, the Developer presented evidence that had not previously been presented, which materially changed the applications for the CUPs, including a new master site plan. Although Petitioner was included in the mailing for the Notice of Public Hearing on November 16, this new evidence was not properly noticed as part of the hearing and Petitioner did not have a proper opportunity to respond to this new evidence.

For example, in violation of I.C. § 676512(b), the Notice of Appeal Hearing for the public hearings on November 16 and 17, 2016, contains no reference to the construction of wind turbines that will be up to 500’ tall and be located within one mile of Petitioner’s property.

As a consequence, Petitioner was not alerted to the fact the Ranch would be adversely affected by the construction of wind towers within one mile of the Ranch and the adjoining area.

During the November 16, 2016 appeal hearing, the Commissioners discussed the issue of noise from the wind mills with Cat Creek representative, James Carkulis.
question, Mr. Carkulis stated: “Noise from equipment. Yes, undoubtedly. Something moves there is going to be noise. The fact of the matter is though that where the wind turbines is [sp] located, there are no residences around. It is almost a moot point. It is just not going to be a concern.

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

or

See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

 

 

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All Five Cat Creek Energy Permits “Were” Dependent Upon Each Other

The Master Site Plan changed again?

 

The story of the five Cat Creek Energy conditional use permits (CUPs) that John Faulkner applied for in 2015 gets lost in the grand scheme of his ill-conceived project. However, the fact that Cat Creek Energy sold their five-part mega-energy project as one complete project to the residents of Elmore County and many other entities is crucial to understand.

The Elmore County P & Z entire hearing and deliberation process was based on Cat Creek Energy’s insistence that the entire mega-project had to be approved as one. Cat Creek repeatedly said, if all five permits were not approved, their project would not be economically viable and they’d have to cancel it.

In 2017, the Cat Creek developers convinced the Elmore County Commissioners that all five CUPs were no longer required in order to build out their mega-energy project. In other words, all those residents who said:

Cat Creek will never get state or federal approval for the reservoir or sprawling wind farm so we don’t need to even worry about the project being ever approved,” were fooled by our elected officials.

Well, guess what? The County Commissioners, by separating all the CUPs, has made it possible for Cat Creek Energy to build what they want, where they want and when they want and the residents never had any input into that huge modification in the Master Site Plan.

When the S Bar Ranch filed a Petition for Judicial Review on March 7, 2019, with the district court, they highlighted this fact for Judge Nancy Baskin to consider. We hope the honorable judge will see this lack of public oversight and remand the entire project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission. Only then will the county residents be able to provide proper feedback to these local decision-makers.

Reference: See Page 8 after download the full petition at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

The P&Z Commission found that “five (5) separate applications, each for a conditional use permit are required.” The P&Z Commission further found that “based on testimony from the Applicant, all five (5) applications are dependent upon each other and cannot exist separately.

Therefore the Commission conducted only one (1) public hearing and issued only one (1) decision on the Applications.” The Commission found that the
“Owners” of the Site are Sawtooth Grazing Association and Wood Creek Ranch, both at 1989 South 1875 East, Gooding, ID 83330 and that the Applicant’s property right in the Site is based on lease agreements. The property size is approximately 23,000 acres, all of which is owned or controlled by John Faulkner.

The Commission found that the applicable law for consideration of the Applications was:

A) the Elmore County 2014 Comprehensive Plan, adopted as Resolution 56215 on January 20, 2014 (the “Comprehensive Plan”);

B) Zoning Ordinance, adopted March 21, 2012, as Ordinance
201201; which was subsequently amended on September 19, 2012, as Ordinance 201203 and on July 14, 2014, As Ordinance 201401; and

C) the Local Land Use Planning Act, I.C. § 676501 et seq. [Exh. 4 at R. 007297007298] ”

If you have concerns about the Cat Creek Energy project, please contact your elected officials and tell them you oppose the entire project and why.
Here is a link with many of the people you might want to contact: https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/
Also, please share this post with friend, family, and co-workers so they also understand how horrible the Cat Creek Energy project will be for Elmore County.

 

Thanks.

 

Originally published on March 19, 2019.

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