News release from Pacific Power:
JOSEPH, Ore. — Nestled amongst the campgrounds, snow-capped mountains and gleaming waters of Wallowa Lake State Park lives a brand-new attraction: a small log cabin with a big new idea for producing clean, renewable energy for the region. The recently completed Power House is home to a micro hydropower turbine that uses the flow of the existing municipal water supply line near the head of Wallowa Lake to generate a continuous source of power.
On Saturday, September 28, the public is invited to come get a special insider’s view during a free Power House Open House event. Tours of the micro hydro facility, short presentations and fun, hands-on activities for kids and families will provide a chance to learn more about the project. Guests can even take home a limited-edition bandana designed for the occasion.
The free event is hosted by Pacific Power, Wallowa Resources Community Solutions Inc., and Wallowa Lake State Park, who together with Energy Trust of Oregon, have helped bring the project to the park.
“Wallowa Lake’s micro hydro project highlights how we can work together to grow renewable energy resources right here in our own backyard,” said Lori Wyman, Pacific Power’s regional business manager based in Eastern Oregon. “Through our partners and our own Blue Sky participants, this project will support our community for years to come, and hopefully inspire the park’s many visitors too.”
Annually, the new facility is expected to generate around 150,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy – enough to offset about 85 percent of the power needed to pump fresh drinking water to 160 nearby homes and businesses. Pacific Power’s Blue Sky customers provided $60,000 in funding to the micro hydro facility as part of its community project grant program, which supports community-based solar, wind, geothermal and renewable energy projects across Pacific Power’s service area. The project also received an $80,000 incentive from Energy Trust.
“This project is a great example of using existing infrastructure and a local renewable resource to save energy dollars for the community and generate clean local energy,” said Kyle Petrocine, renewable energy program manager, Wallowa Resources.
Micro hydro works by converting the energy of moving water already used for irrigation, municipal or domestic use into mechanical energy, using a turbine. The turbine helps spins a generator which produces electricity. At the park, the new system directs water already flowing from State Park Springs through the Power House turbine before discharging back into the community water system. In cases where the community uses less water than the spring provides, the water eventually flows into Wallowa Lake.
Throughout the year, the Power House will welcome visitors with educational signage and windows allowing visitors to see the working turbine and generator from the outside in.