Duke Energy started the formal relicensing process by filing a pre-application document (PAD) with the FERC on February 23, 2022. The original license for the existing Bad Creek Project (issued in 1977) expires on July 31, 2027. The Federal Power Act requires non-federal hydroelectric projects to be relicensed after the original license expires.Learn More
Relicensing Process Overview
Applying for a new license from FERC is a multiyear process that includes Duke Energy working collaboratively with local, state and federal agencies along with interested stakeholders. The goal is to create outcomes that balance power generation with other benefits, such as the protection and enhancement of recreation and natural resources.
Duke Energy is following FERC’s Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) that integrates the license applicant’s consultation activities prior to filing the final license application with FERC’s “scoping” responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The ILP was designed to provide a structured, efficient and timely process that encourages early stakeholder participation and focused conduct of resource studies. Duke Energy will conduct studies based on recommendations from stakeholders and regulators to provide agencies with the information needed to evaluate Duke Energy’s final proposals in the final license application. The new license will include resource protection measures to be implemented at the project over the new license term.
An overview of the ILP follows. Additional information about the ILP can be found on FERC’s website.
Relicensing Process Overview
Scoping and study planning — [February 2022 — January 2023]
- Applicant files PAD and NOI
- Develop relicensing stakeholder team
- FERC conducts NEPA scoping, including public scoping meeting(s)
- Applicant prepares study pans to address data gaps and potential resource impacts to be evaluated through the relicensing process
- Applicant holds proposed study plan meeting
- Licensing participants and FERC staff provide comments on the proposed study plan
- Applicant prepares and files revised study plan
- FERC issues the study plan determination
Study execution and license application preparation — [January 2023 — July 2025]
- Applicant conducts studies in accordance with the study plan determination and issues initial (1st study year) and updated (2nd study year) study reports.
- Initial and updated study report filings each followed by meeting with resource agencies and other licensing participants
- Resource agencies and licensing participants file comments on study reports and meetings
- FERC revises the study plan determination, if needed
- Applicant files draft and final license application
- The draft license application issued for licensing participants’ reviews
- Licensing participants file comments on the draft license application
- Final license application filed
Post-final license application activities — [August 2025 — July 2027]
- Applicant files application for Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification with governing state agency (South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control - DHEC)
- FERC reviews and processes license application and solicits comments and recommendations from licensing participants and resources agencies
- FERC performs environmental assessment and document preparation in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.
- FERC issues new license with terms and conditions for operation of the project over the next 40-50 years and authorizes construction of new facilities proposed in the license application, if applicable.
Relicensing Process Plan and Schedule
Duke Energy has prepared a Process Plan and Schedule incorporating steps and timeframes prescribed by FERC’s ILP regulations.
|Activity||Responsible Parties||Timeframe||Estimated Filing Date or Deadline|
|File Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-application Document (PAD)||Licensee||Within 5 years to 5.5 years prior to license expiration||Feb 23, 2022|
|Initial Tribal Consultation||FERC||No later than 30 days following filing of NOI/PAD||Mar 25, 2022|
|Issue Notice of NOI/PAD and Scoping Document 1 (SD1)||FERC||Within 60 days following filing of NOI/PAD||Apr 24, 2022|
|Conduct Scoping Meeting(s)||FERC||Within 30 days following Notice of NOI/PAD and SD1||May 24, 2022|
|Comments on PAD, SD1, and Study Requests||Licensee, Stakeholders||Within 60 days following Notice of NOI/PAD and SD1||June 23, 2022|
|Issue Scoping Document 2 (SD2), if necessary||FERC||Within 45 days following deadline for filing comments on PAD/SD1||Aug 7, 2022|
|File Proposed Study Plan (PSP)||Licensee||Within 45 days following deadline for filing comments on PAD/SD1||Aug 7, 2022|
|PSP Meeting||Licensee||Within 30 days following filing of PSP||Sep 6, 2022|
|Comments on PSP||Stakeholders||Within 90 days following filing of PSP||Nov 5, 2022|
|File Revised Study Plan (RSP)||Licensee||Within 30 days following deadline for comments on PSP||Dec 5, 2022|
|Comments on RSP||Stakeholders||Within 15 days following filing of RSP||Dec 20, 2022|
|Issue Study Plan Determination||FERC||Within 30 days following filing of RSP||Jan 4, 2023|
|Conduct First Season of Studies||Licensee||-||Spring-Fall 2023|
|File Study Progress Reports||Licensee||Quarterly||Spring 2023 -Fall 2024|
|File Initial Study Report (ISR)||Licensee||Pursuant to the Commission-approved study plan or no later than 1 year after Commission approval of the study plan, whichever comes first||Jan 4, 2024|
|ISR Meeting||Licensee, Stakeholders||Within 15 days following filing of ISR||Jan 19, 2024|
|File ISR Meeting Summary||Licensee||Within 15 days following ISR Meeting||Feb 3, 2024|
|Comments on ISR Meeting and Additional or Modified Study Requests||Stakeholders||Within 30 days following filing of ISR Meeting Summary||Mar 4, 2024|
|File Response to Comments on ISR and Meeting Summary||Licensee||Within 30 days following filing of ISR Meeting Comments||Apr 3, 2024|
|Resolution of Meeting Summary Disagreements and Issue Amended Study Plan Determination (if required)||FERC||Within 30 days following filing of response to ISR Meeting Comments||May 3, 2024|
|Conduct Second Season of Studies (if required)||Licensee||-||Spring-Fall 2024|
|Deadline to File Preliminary Licensing Proposal (PLP) or Draft License Application (DLA)||Licensee||No later than 150 days prior to the deadline for filing the Final License Application (FLA)||March 1, 2025|
|File Updated Study Report (USR)||Licensee||Pursuant to the approved study plan or no later than 2 years after Commission approval, whichever comes first||Jan 4, 2025|
|USR Meeting||Licensee, Stakeholders||Within 15 days following filing of USR||Jan 19, 2025|
|File USR Meeting Summary||Licensee||Within 15 days following USR Meeting||Feb 3, 2025|
|File Comments or Disagreements on USR Meeting Summary||Stakeholders||Within 30 days following filing of USR Meeting Summary||Mar 5, 2025|
|File Response to Comments on USR Meeting Summary||Licensee||Within 30 days following filing of USR Meeting Comments||Apr 4, 2025|
|Resolution of USR Meeting Summary Dispute (if necessary)||FERC||Within 30 days following filing of response to USR Meeting Comments||May 4, 2025|
|Comments on PLP or DLA||Stakeholders||Within 90 days following filing of PLP or DLA||May 30, 2025|
|Deadline to file FLA||Licensee||No later than 24 months before the existing license expires||July 31, 2025|
|Publish Public Notice of FLA Filing||Licensee||Within 14 days following filing of FLA filing||August 13, 2025|
Building the Bad Creek II Power Complex
Additional energy storage and renewable energy capacity are needed to help meet Duke Energy's commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Bad Creek II Power Complex would take advantage of typically unused storage capacity in the upper reservoir to roughly double the energy generation and storage pumping capacity of the current project.
The Bad Creek II Power Complex would be constructed within the footprint of the existing project. Major features would include new water intake/discharge structures on the Bad Creek Reservoir and Lake Jocassee, a second underground powerhouse and water conveyance tunnels, a new transformer yard, and a new transmission line to be run in parallel with the existing line.
How long will it take to build the Bad Creek II Power Complex?
If Duke Energy decides to pursue the Bad Creek II Power Complex and obtains all necessary regulatory approvals, construction would span approximately six years. With the relicensing process expected to end by mid-2027, the second powerhouse would be operational around 2033.
Major construction phases and milestones for the Bad Creek II Power Complex
- Jul 2027 - Feb 2032: Lower reservoir inlet/outlet and discharge channel
- Dec 2029 - Aug 2031: Upper reservoir inlet/outlet and headrace channel
- Mar 2028 - Mar 2031: Water conveyance systeml
- Oct 2027 – Nov 2032: Powerhouse
- Nov 2027 – Nov 2031: Transformer yard and switchyard
- Aug 2032 – Aug 2033: Testing and commissioning
What else is needed to build the Bad Creek II Power Complex?
In addition to the FERC license, other major federal/state approvals would be required for Duke Energy to build the Bad Creek II Power Complex. These include permits, authorizations and certifying conditions from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) under Sections 404 and 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.
If Duke Energy decides to advance the Bad Creek II Power Complex, other necessary federal, state, or local permits and approvals would be pursued in consultation with relevant regulatory entities in parallel with the FERC relicensing process.