This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 06, 2002

Portland Utility Agrees to Remove a 22-Megawatt Hydropower Project

Portland General Electric (PGE), Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, and 21 other organizations signed an agreement on October 24th that will lead to the decommissioning of the 22-megawatt Bull Run Hydroelectric Project in the Sandy River Basin. PGE had decided to decommission the 90-year-old facility in 1999; under the new agreement, PGE will remove two dams, donate its water rights to the public, and contribute more than 1,500 acres of related lands. The agreement will lead to a 5,000-acre wildlife and public recreation area in the Sandy River Basin, which is considered to be one of the best habitats for endangered salmon and steelhead in northwest Oregon. PGE will begin removing the dams in 2007 and plans to have site restoration done by 2009. See the PGE announcement.

A project underway in South Carolina is taking the opposite approach: The turbines at the 48-year-old J. Strom Thurmond Hydro Power Plant are being upgraded to make them more environmentally friendly, while also increasing the plant's power production. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is running the rehabilitation project, for which Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation has just installed the first upgraded turbine. According to Voith, the turbine now includes an aerating device that will increase the level of dissolved oxygen in the river downstream from the plant. See the Voith press release.

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