Montana DNRC Hydro Feasibility Study

Project Name: Small Hydropower Projects in Montana

Summary: Preliminary feasibility studies at multi-use dams

Client: Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation

Project Location: Big Horn, Ravalli, and Carbon Counties, MT

Services Provided:
•  Hydroelectric Feasibility &
•  Hydrologic & Hydraulic Analysis
•  Regulatory & Environmental

Project Timeframe:

Relationship with Client: Since 2011

Client Needs:
In an effort to develop additional renewable energy, the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) requested an evaluation of the potential for small hydropower project development at three state owned dams in Montana. These dams include the Tongue River Dam in Big Horn County, the Painted Rocks Dam located on the West Fork of the Bitterroot River in Ravalli County, and the Cooney Dam located on Red Lodge Creek in Carbon County.
Kleinschmidt Solution:
Kleinschmidt conducted a reconnaissance level analysis of the technical and economical feasibility of hydropower generation at the three dams. Each of dams studied has varied uses and multiple water rights and delivery obligations that Kleinschmidt factored into the development potential evaluation. Kleinschmidt also assessed the environmental and FERC licensing implications associated with hydroelectric development and generation at each dam. Kleinschmidt’s final analysis provided detailed benefit cost assessments, conceptual project layouts and recommendations regarding which of the projects warranted further investigation.
Client Benefits:
Kleinschmidt’s evaluation provided the DNRC with a cost-effective screening mechanism for further evaluation of each dam’s hydroelectric potential without the need for conducting in-depth and costly feasibility studies at the dams. Kleinschmidt’s comprehensive expertise provided project efficiencies in all required skill areas including hydroelectric engineering, licensing, and environmental studies.