First New Hydro Project in Almost 20 Years
Developer could spend $850 million on plant construction
Snohomish County Public Utility District has opened what it has claimed is the first new hydroelectric project in Washington state in nearly 20 years this month - the 7.5MW Youngs Creek facility.
The $29M project features a pipeline located three miles underground which drops 920ft in elevation from intake to powerhouse. It is located near a natural barrier, a waterfall, so as not to impact migrating fish, such as salmon. There are resident trout in upper reaches of the creek, but they are already isolated due to the falls and other conditions.
"We're committed to operating this facility and other hydropower projects in a way that protects our natural environment while serving the community's needs for high quality water and energy," said PUD Board of Commissioners President Dave Aldrich. "We're focused on operating our projects to keep energy competitively priced in balance with fish, wildlife, recreational and cultural resources."
Numerous government agencies - local, state and federal - and the Tulalip Tribes provided input during the development of Youngs Creek.
This project, and other small hydropower sites, are located outside of sensitive areas, such as designated wilderness lands. These "backyard resources" also reduce the need for hundreds of miles of new transmission line, minimizing both line losses and environmental impacts.
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