Snohomish PUD designs low-cost, low-impact hydro project
Originally published April 17, 2014
After a series of studies and design analysis, Snohomish County Public Utility District has developed an innovative plan for a proposed hydropower project that requires no dam, weir, or river barriers. That will reduce construction costs by $10 million, the Washington State utility said. The Sunset Fish Passage & Energy Project could power up to 22,500 homes at maximum output, Snohomish said.
"We have proven success delivering low-impact hydropower projects that provide multiple benefits to our customers," said Kim Moore, PUD assistant general manager of Water, Generation & Corporate Services. "This project could be a valuable addition to our portfolio. Among the low-impact projects we identified in the past seven years, it’s the lowest cost power source."
As part of the project the PUD would make improvements to an aging, state-owned trap-and-haul facility that trucks salmon upstream above three impassible waterfalls to 90 miles of spawning habitat. The utility also is studying potential road and recreation improvements.
Snohomish’s updated design modifies the water intake area and fish screens to cut excavation needs in half. It also reduces construction time by an estimated six months, the PUD said. In addition, more efficient turbines at a proposed powerhouse would increase annual energy production.
The no-dam design is possible due to the unique geography of the South Fork Skykomish River, the utility said. Upstream from Sunset Falls, the river turns sharply – a complete 180 degrees – creating a deep pool of water, which can accommodate an underwater intake structure. The water for the project would flow from the upstream intake to an underground tunnel through solid bedrock a half-mile to the project’s powerhouse, Snohomish said. Sufficient water would remain in the river for fish, aesthetics, and recreation.
In addition to the Sunset Project, the PUD is assessing two other local hydro power projects above Snoqualmie Falls near North Bend. These projects are the lowest cost renewable energy sources available locally, better in price than wind, solar, tidal, and biomass/biogas, Snohomish said.
Please Sign in to rate this.
Vice President, Integrated Media and Communications
Editor, Public Power Daily
Fallon W. Forbush
Manager, Integrated Media
David L. Blaylock
Integrated Media Editor
- House bill designates municipal bonds as high-quality liquid asset
- California prices increasingly mimic ‘duck curve,’ EIA says
- Senate panel opposes sale of PMA assets, bolsters cybersecurity agreement
- NYPA power line project to boost reliability, facilitate renewables
- Palo Alto Utilities thermal microgrid project funded through DEED grant
- Officials urge public power utilities to be prepared for cyberattacks
- Public power utilities recognized for high customer satisfaction
- Lawmakers hear about capacity market flaws, rising grid costs
- Report sees more than seven million plug-in EVs in U.S. by 2025
- Cyber Hygiene: Preventive Care to Avoid Electric System Decay