Make the McKenzie Connection!

Boston firm planning Blue River dam hydro

Face of Blue River DamPhoto Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Discussed for decades, the addition of a generator to the Blue River Dam could become a reality.

BLUE RIVER: The off-again, on-again plans to add a hydroelectric generator to the Blue River Dam have been revived by Qualified Hydro 15, LLC of Boston, Massachusetts. The Eugene Water & Electric Board analyzed the economics of the project several times since construction was halted in 1994 but was not able to come up with an economic justification for moving forward.

Last year, EWEB surrendered its license to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after the agency refused a request to transfer it to a potential buyer Free Flow Power.

Qualified Hydro 15 has proposed studying the feasibility of using flows from the existing 1,265-foot-long earth-fill dam on the Blue River, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Details of the proposal include adding trash racks to the existing concrete intake structure and lining a 1,800-foot-long concrete-lined outlet tunnel with steel.

If built, the hydro plant’s new construction would add a 600-foot-long, 12-foot diameter steel penstock; a 70-foot by 50-foot reinforced concrete powerhouse containing two turbine/generators with a 20 megawatt output; a 125-foot-long, 60-foot-wide tailrace to return flow back to Blue River; a substation; and an approximately 1.5-mile-long, 115-kilovolt transmission line which would tie into the existing Bonneville Power Administration Blue River substation. The estimated annual generation of the Blue River Dam project would be 50 gigawatt-hours.

Qualified Hydro 15 was issued a preliminary permit for the project in July of 2012. It will expire in June of 2015.



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