Jan 21, 2015

Portland Water Pipeline Produces Renewable Energy

The system is the first project in the U.S. to secure a 20-year PPA for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline

Lucid Energy Portland Oregon LucidPipe power system turbine

The Portland (Ore.) Water Bureau (PWB) and Lucid Energy have officially turned one of the city’s major water pipelines into a generator of renewable energy.

The LucidPipe power system uses the gravity-fed flow of water inside a PWB pipeline to spin four 42-in. turbines that are now producing electricity for Portland General Electric (PGE) customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the utility, helping promote renewable power development and resource diversity for Oregon. The system, which was installed at no cost to PWB or the city of Portland, is the first project in the U.S. to secure a 20-year PPA for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline.

The system will begin full energy production within the next two months. LucidPipe has been tested and Certified by NSF Intl. to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for use in potable water systems. It does not disrupt pipeline operations and has no environmental impact.

“PGE’s goal is to be our customers’ partner in helping to build a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for Oregon,” said Brett Sims, PGE’s director of origination, structuring and resource strategy. “We’re pleased to integrate new generating technologies and applications like this into our system when they offer cost-effective solutions for our customers and the environment.”

“The Water Bureau welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a Portland pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power as well,” said Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. “Water and energy are closely linked. The Lucid pipe system provides a way for the Water Bureau to contribute to generating electricity for our community in a clean, low-cost and renewable way.”

The Portland LucidPipe system was fully financed in October 2014 with capital from Harbourton Alternative Energy, a subsidiary of Harbourton Enterprises. The project will generate approximately $2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over the 20-year PPA period, enough electricity for more than 150 homes in Portland. The Portland Water Bureau and Harbourton will share in the revenue. After 20 years, PWB will have the right to own the system and all the energy it produces.

“Water agencies are looking for ways to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy and investors are seeking opportunities in smart water and energy infrastructure,” said Gregg Semler, President and CEO of Lucid Energy, Inc. The industry is looking to Portland as an example of how all of these entities can partner to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower to generate investment returns and reduce the cost of delivering clean, safe drinking water.”

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