Portland Water System: Now with Electrical Generators!

The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and renewable energy company Lucid Energy have joined forces to turn one of the city’s largest water pipelines into an electrical generator. Water flowing through newly installed, specialty “LucidPipe” spins four 42” turbines that, in turn, produce energy for customers of Portland General Electric (PGE).

20 Years, $2M in Renewable Energy

In approximately two months, the system will be running at full capacity and producing roughly $2 million worth of renewable energy over the next 20 years, or enough electrical power for over 150 Portland homes. The LucidPipe setup was installed at no cost to the City of Portland, and was wholly funded by Harbourton Alternative Energy. PGE has agreed to a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Lucid, the first of its kind in the U.S. for in-pipe hydropower in a municipal setting. At the end of the 20-year period, PWB will own the system outright, as well as the electricity it generates.

Said Brett Sims, PGE’s Director of Origination, Structuring, and Resource Strategy, “PGE’s goal is to be our customers’ partner in helping build a reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy future.”

Hydropower turbines.

Hydropower turbines.

Closely Linked

“The [PWB] welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a […] pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power,” said PWB administrator David Shaff. The LucidPipe system provides a way for the Water Bureau to contribute to generating electricity for our community in a clean, low-cost, and renewable way.”

“Water agencies are [trying] to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy, and investors are seeking opportunities in […] water and energy infrastructure,” said Lurid Energy President and CEO Gregg Semler. “The industry is looking to Portland as an example of how […] to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower to generate investment returns and reduce the cost of delivering clean, safe drinking water.”

Lucid has secured funding from a number of sources to expand and accelerate the worldwide commercial integration of LucidPipe power systems.

Photo credit: ceesjwfoto (Cees Wouda) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND