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Lighting Overhaul Brings
Efficiency Boost at Washington Dam

by Staff
Brighter Energy, February 3, 2011

Grand Coulee Dam in northern Washington is the largest dam and largest power plant in the United States Grand Coulee Dam is producing enough extra electricity every year to power all U.S. household televisions during the Super Bowl, thanks to a lighting overhaul at the nation's largest dam that won a regional environmental leadership award yesterday.

The Bonneville Power Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation together installed energy efficient lights in more than 10,000 fixtures at the northern Washington dam on the Columbia River.

The combined energy savings means the 6,809-megawatt dam - the largest power plant in the country - is delivering about one additional megawatt of renewable energy to the region.

The nearly 9 million kilowatt hours of added electricity per year could power nearly all U.S. household televisions tuned into the Super Bowl.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Region 10 based in Seattle recognized the $1.2 million lighting retrofit Tuesday with its 2010 Champions of Environmental Leadership and Green Government Award at the annual Federal Green Challenge Symposium in Portland.

"This project shows how installing energy efficient lighting can dramatically reduce energy consumption," said Mike Weedall, BPA's vice president for Energy Efficiency.

"This project was large in scale, but if everyone in the Northwest replaced a few light bulbs around their homes it would save a hundred times as much energy by comparison."


The Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Sixth Power Plan calls for the region to meet 85 percent of its increased demand for energy through energy efficiency measures. By doing so, the Northwest could meet much of its power needs without the cost and impact of new power generation facilities.

The Grand Coulee retrofit installed high performance T8 fluorescent lamps in the dam's powerhouses and tunnels, LED lamps in turbine rooms and pit areas and very long lasting fluorescent lights called induction lighting in the machine shops and high bay areas. The new lighting cuts energy use in half and provides more and better quality light.

The EPA's Environmental Leadership and Green Government Awards recognize agencies that participate in the Federal Green Challenge, which challenges them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption and better manage their electronics, purchasing, transportation and waste.

The EPA also recognized BPA with its Environmental Leadership Award for BPA's Energy Smart Federal Partnership, a program that reduced energy consumption at 21 federal agencies.

BPA audits federal facilities under the program and then designs and develops cost-effective energy efficiency projects. Funding comes from BPA and the agency involved and in some cases is supplemented by private, third-party financing.

BPA continues to audit and upgrade its other facilities. To date, BPA has installed upgraded lighting at about 20 hydro facilities, 20 transmission facilities and 15 hatcheries.

Grand Coulee

Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1941 and is the largest hydroelectric plant in the United States and one of the largest concrete structures in the world. It is owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and provides flood control, irrigation, hydropower production, recreation, stream flows and fish and wildlife benefits.

The project has three powerplants, a pump-generating plant and three switchyards. The Bonneville Power Administration markets power generated at the dam.

BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest.

The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 3,300 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system.

Lighting Overhaul Brings Efficiency Boost at Washington Dam
Brighter Energy, February 3, 2011

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