Northwest Hydropower News

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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Dam Relicensing Funding is Boon to Kayakers at Popular Spokane River Rapid

By Rich Landers
The Spokesman-Review

Kayakers are enjoying ritzy new facilities at Trailer Park Wave.

A $480,000 access to the Spokane River geared especially for nonmotorized paddlers, floaters and anglers has been completed by Avista Utilities downstream from Post Falls Dam.

The site includes parking for five vehicles, a vault toilet and a paved trail kayakers can use to carry their boats safely down to the river. Read more

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Dam problems force release of 50,000 fish from Leaburg hatchery

By Christian Wihtol
Register-Guard

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has implemented an emergency early transfer of more than 50,000 trout from its Leaburg hatchery into Willamette Valley fishing spots because of the problems at the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Leaburg Dam on the McKenzie River, ODFW said Monday.

Due to mechanical problems, two of the dam’s three gates are stuck in the closed position, letting little water through; the third gate is open, allowing water through. EWEB has said it does not want to raise or lower the third gate by very much because it does not want to risk that gate also malfunctioning. Read more

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Carbon Emissions Continue Decline

By Phuong Le Associated Press
The Spokesman-Review

Greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state dropped by about 4.6 percent from 2010 to 2011, led by reductions in emissions from the electricity sector, according to the latest figures released by the state.

The latest data show about 91.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or its equivalent was released in 2011, compared to about 96.1 million metric tons the year before.

Emissions are on a downward trend but still about 4 percent higher than in 1990. 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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