By Associated Press
Nearly 100 poles for transmission lines to carry power from Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River have been dropped off by helicopter.
Officials say electricity from the $42 million plant 22 miles upstream from Boise should start flowing next year.
The plant’s two 7.5 megawatt generators are expected to produce enough power for about 15,000 homes. The power will be sent to the Northwest power grid.
The plant is begin built by the Boise Project, a group of five irrigation districts.
"This is the end of a 20 year endeavor,” Paul Deveau, project manager, told the Idaho Statesman.”It took a long time to get this put together, but it will definitely be worth it.”
He said water from the reservoir helps irrigate more than 167,000 acres for 46,000 customers. Selling the power helps lower the cost for irrigators.
Arrowrock Dam was finished in 1915 by the US Bureau of Reclamation, and built to be retrofitted with a power plant.
Deveau said the poles were brought in by helicopter due to the terrain.
"Normally they’d be stood up from the ground,” Deveau said. "But since we’re putting them up on hills, the cost of dragging them up would have been huge.”
Breck Glassinger, president of Caribou Construction, said using the helicopter also reduced damage that could have been cause by heavy equipment.
"We are very sensitive to the environmental impacts of any project we work on, and this approach offered the best management practices for placement,” Glassinger said.
Mountain States Hydro and Riverside Inc, two other contractors working on the power plant, said testing on the dam’s systems is scheduled for December or January and power should start flowing soon after.
The Boise Project also operates a 101 megawatt generator at Lucky Peak Dam. That dam was completed in 1955 by the Army Corps of Engineers and fitted with a hydroelectric powerhouse in 1988.