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Irrigation district facility would be built at A Canal

By Ty Beaver
Herald – News

Klamath Irrigation District is considering spending $1.5 million to rebuild a hydroelectric facility on one of its canals to generate revenue for the district.

The facility would produce nearly 1 megawatt of power at the site where the A Canal drops into the C Canal north of Henley.

It would be built on top of where a hydro facility was located years ago.

The Oregon Water Resources Department will host a public hearing Wednesday, Oct. 21 to take comments on the proposal.

Dave Solem, Klamath Irrigation District manager, said the project has been under consideration as a revenue producer for years.

Others say the plan is part of a trend that exploits any possible energy resource, especially if doing so would have minimal environmental impact.

"With power costs increasing, you’re going to see a lot more of this,” said Dan Golden, chairman of Klamath County’s Renewable Energy Task Force.

Solem said Enterprise Irrigation District operated a hydro facility at the same site years ago, but it burned and was never replaced. The concrete based and turbine housing for that structure is still in place and would be used for the new facility.

Construction costs of the hydro facilities typically run about $2 million per megawatt of generating capacity, but Solem said because components of the facility are already in place, and it would generate less than a megawatt, costs are expected to be lower.

Solem said funding could come from the district and other sources.

Power from the facility would be fed directly into the energy grid, and Klamath Irrigation District would receive reimbursement for the power generation.

The irrigation district isn’t the only organization pursuing projects like this. Mary Grainey with the Oregon Water Resources Department said two other irrigation districts in Oregon have submitted applications for hydro projects on their canals.

Herald – News
Klamath, Or
October 14, 2009

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