News: Hydropower

Proposed PUD project holds meetings

By Lou Marzeles
Goldendale Sentinel

The Klickitat PUD (KPUD) thinks water is just too lazy, just lying there. At best, it seems, you can make it run through a dam and generate electricity. But why not really make water go to work?

If KPUD can bring an ambitious new project to completion, water will work on a hugely prodigious scale, the likes of which have rarely been seen anywhere. And indications are that KPUD just could pull it off.

It has the colorless title John Day Pool Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project. The name seems to match the scale of what it wants to do.

Essentially the project will pump water uphill into gigantic reservoirs when power is plentiful. Then, when power is somewhat depleted, the water can be released back downhill through turbines to generate more electricity. We’re talking a lot of water, capable of generating 1,200 megawatts of power. Read more

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UW extension educator promotes small hydropower

By Susan Lockhart
Northern Wyoming Daily News

Milt Geiger gets pretty excited when he talks about small hydropower projects in Wyoming, but he says his excitement is tempered by his economics background which makes him weigh the benefits and the cost.

Geiger, a University of Wyoming Extension Educator in the areas of energy economics and renewable energy, held a workshop this past week in Worland on small hydropower projects. Read more

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EWEB’s third Leaburg gate locked open

By Christian Hill
Register-Guard

Leaburg Dam operators have locked its only operating rollgate into an open position to avoid a potential failure after it malfunctioned last month, the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s engineering manager told utility commissioners Tuesday evening.

The Dec. 24 malfunction, which the utility did not previously disclose to the public, occurred the day after its No. 1 rollgate failed and slammed shut. Workers are expected to finish repairs to the No. 2 rollgate, which failed nearly three years ago, next week.

The engineering manager, Mel Damewood, told The Register-Guard after his presentation to commissioners that the No. 3 rollgate could still operate if needed. But officials decided that allowing it to continue operating could risk leaving the dam without any functional rollgates, which are cylindrical floodgates. Read more

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2015 river dredging at Ice Harbor Dam cleared by court

By Associated Press and Tri-City Herald
The News Tribune

Dredging could start as soon as Monday at the downstream navigation lock approach at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, after a ruling this week by a federal judge in Seattle.

The Army Corps of Engineers had awarded a $6.7 million contract to a Tacoma company in November to perform dredging to maintain the navigation channel in the Lower Snake River at the congressional mandated minimum of 250 feet wide by 14 feet deep. Read more

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Pumped-storage dream: tiny Washington state utility makes big pitch

By Pete Danko
Breaking Energy

Randy Knowles figures he’s moving in the right direction. “They used to call me crazy,” he said with a self-effacing chuckle. “Now they’re calling me audacious.”

For well over a decade, the Klickitat (Washington) Public Utility District commissioner has promoted building a big pumped storage project off-stream from the Columbia River at the John Day Dam, 110 miles upriver from Portland, Oregon. Now, after years of holding a preliminary permit to study the possibility, the district is moving to obtain a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Read more

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Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

By Phuong Le, The Associated Press
Yakima Herald

Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes.

The aerospace company and the utility, Puget Sound Energy, said the plan will move the Renton factory near Seattle toward an all-renewable energy mix. Read more

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PUD imposes moratorium amid boom in power requests for data centers

By Christine Pratt
Wenatchee World

A unprecedented boom in applications to the Chelan County PUD for large amounts of power for upstart server farms is threatening the business model the utility has depended on to keep rates low for decades and provide additional services, like parks and fiber-optics.

“It’s been a very busy year… we typically aren’t used to this,” John Stoll, the PUD’s managing director of customer utilities told commissioners Monday, shortly before the board approved a moratorium on applications for large amounts of power. Read more

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Wanapum Dam stable after reservoir hits elevation target

By Christine Pratt
Wenatchee World

The Columbia River behind Wanapum Dam hit its targeted 17-foot elevation increase 10 days ahead of schedule, but the shoreline remains closed, Grant County PUD officials said Tuesday. Read more

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Wanapum Dam repairs will continue into 2015

By Cheryl Schweizer
Seattle Times

Grant County PUD officials should start raising the water behind Wanapum Dam sometime before the end of 2014. Construction work to repair a cracked spillway pillar and stabilize the rest of the dam is expected to last through March or April 2015. Read more

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Energy Department announces $10 million for full-scale wave energy device testing

By, Northwest Part of Energy Department $10 Million Funding for Full-Scale Wave Energy Device Testing

The Energy Department, in coordination with the Navy, today announced funding for two companies that will continue to advance marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technology as a viable source for America’s clean energy future. Ocean Energy USA and Northwest Energy Innovations will test their innovative wave energy conversion (WEC) devices for one year in new deep water test berths at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) off the waters of Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Read more

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