News: Hydropower

EWEB sells Smith Creek dam for $22.1 million to pay down debt

By Christian Hill
Eugene Register Guard

The Eugene Water & Electric Board has sold its hydro­electric project in Idaho and will use the money from the sale to pay down debt, but it must continue buying power from the dam’s new owner at below-market rates for the next three years. Read more

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Group sues to force pollution disclosure at Grand Coulee Dam

By Phuong Le, Associated Press
Spokesman Review

An environmental group sued the federal agency that operates the nation’s largest hydropower producer Wednesday, saying operations at the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington are polluting the Columbia River in violation of federal clean water laws.

The nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper says the Bureau of Reclamation should get a pollution permit and be required to disclose as well as reduce the amount of oil, greases and other pollutants the dam in Eastern Washington sends into local waters. Read More

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Chelan PUD to Modernize Original Units at Rock Island Dam

By Kimberlee Craig

Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday, decided to invest about $60 million to modernize the four original generating units at Rock Island Dam. The decision came after the board reviewed the results of intensive staff analysis and concluded the project meets the strategic objective of investing in long-term assets that provide value to customer-owners.

The benefits would include reliable operation of the units for another 50 years; an expected 12-percent rate of return; and more flexibility in hydro operations, said Brett Bickford, Engineering and Project Management director. The project also has environmental and fish protection benefits and aligns with PUD values of safety, stewardship, trustworthiness and operational excellence, Bickford said.  Read more

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Waterpower Hydro Basics Course lights up new hires

HydroCourseWhat better place for new hires and experienced professionals moving into the hydropower industry to learn “the business” than at the world’s largest hydro conference?

The Waterpower Hydro Basics Course is taking place July 25 – 26 at the HydroVision Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The full conference is July 26-29 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Click here for detailed course information and registration.

This intensive, highly practical course is designed specifically for people new to hydro to quickly gain the industry background they need, and to help persons with limited hydro experience expand their knowledge.

Taught by industry experts from hydropower producers across the country, course work immerses participants in all aspects of the industry. For instance, the physics of waterpower, the basics of electricity and distribution, plant operations, environmental stewardship, navigating the regulatory environment, and communicating hydro’s value.

Randy Stearnes, FWEE’s Board President and Tacoma Public Utilities Community Relations Officer, has been a Hydro Basics Course instructor for several years. “The Hydro Basics lesson plans can help a person new to the hydro industry better understand the work done for the generation of electricity and the successful management of fish, wildlife and recreational resources,” he said.

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Study: Farms, hydropower at risk in West’s changing climate

By Dan Elliott, Associated Press
Seattle Times

Climate change could upset the complex interplay of rain, snow and temperature in the West, hurting food production, the environment and electrical generation at dams, the federal government warned Tuesday. Read more

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Washington tidal power license surrendered

By Todd Griset
JDSUPRA Business Advisor

U.S. hydropower regulators have accepted a Washington public utility district’s application to surrender its license for an unconstructed tidal power project.

Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington was the licensee for the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project No. 12690.  The hydrokinetic energy project was to be located on the east side of Admiralty Inlet in Puget Sound, about 0.6 mile west of Whidbey Island. Project works were to consist of two 300-kilowatt OpenHydro tidal turbines, each mounted on a triangular subsea base, adaptable monitoring devices, trunk cables extending from each turbine to an onshore cable termination vault, and transformers and other facilities connecting to Puget Sound Energy’s electrical distribution system.  Read more.

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Let region renegotiate Columbia River Treaty

By Steve Wright and Matthew Rooney
Spokesman Review

The Columbia River Treaty has been one of the most successful international agreements ever, partly due to the leading role played by regional entities on both sides of the border in its management. It has produced billions of dollars of benefit for American and Canadian residents of the Pacific Northwest, and showed the world how a cross-border river basin could be managed to benefit two countries.

But circumstances have changed, and it is time to modernize the treaty. Renegotiation should begin now, and the United States should not hesitate to provide notice of intent to terminate the applicable treaty provisions to ensure a serious negotiation. Read more

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Electricity project gets boost from Chinese company

By Staff
Spokesman Review

YAKIMA, Wash. – Plans for a proposed $2.5 billion reservoir system to generate power south of Goldendale have found an unlikely partner: a Chinese hydropower company.

The project is billed as a large-scale energy storage facility that could help utilities across the Northwest and California get the most value out of the growing supply of wind and solar power. Read more

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Helena irrigation district looks to produce hydropower

By Associated Press
Seattle Post Intelligencer

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Helena Valley Irrigation District is looking to retrofit its existing pump plant at Canyon Ferry Dam to produce hydropower. Read more

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Yahoo will double size of Quincy operation

By Staff
Spokesman Review

QUINCY – Size matters, right? Just ask Yahoo! Inc., which is about to double the size of its Quincy data center.

Yahoo said Monday it will add about 300,000 square feet and thousands of servers to its 8-year-old Quincy facility. The expansion will double the size of the company’s operation at the junction of Road P NW and Road 11 NW and add an unspecified number of jobs, the company said in a news release. Currently Yahoo in Quincy has 50 employees.

The tech company is expected to break ground this week on 20 acres next to the current facility with a May opening expected for the expansion.

Yahoo will use its energy-efficient “coop” design for the data center expansion, said Pat Boss, spokesman for the Port of Quincy. Resembling a chicken coop, the design uses prefabricated metal boxes with built-in louvers to increase the use of outside air for cooling and reduce the need for electrical fans to pull air into the building. The coop design also speeds construction. Read more

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