March 26, 2008
Historic 40-foot Willamette Falls officially generating green power
One of state’s most treasured landmarks now in exclusive “low-impact” club
Portland, Ore. — One of Oregon’s first and oldest hydroelectric projects, the T.W. Sullivan Plant located at Willamette Falls, is now officially generating green power, with a designation achieved by only 33 hydro plants in the United States.
The Low Impact Hydropower Institute Board has certified PGE’s hydroelectric project at Willamette Falls as low impact, based on an extensive array of fish protection and passage improvements being implemented at the project, including installation of a second fish bypass system at the powerhouse, and a flow control structure at the apex of the falls to improve downstream fish passage over the falls.
Portland General Electric’s longest-running hydroelectric project, the Sullivan plant, was completed on the West Linn side of Willamette Falls in 1895. Since 1895, the Sullivan plant has required only one other major overhaul — in the mid-1950s — which included an expansion of the main powerhouse building and increasing the plant’s generating capacity to 16 million watts. The 2,300 foot-long dam, located along the crest of the horseshoe-shaped Willamette Falls, also modified over the decades, diverts river flow into the powerhouse for electricity generation.
This designation marks PGE’s second hydro facility to receive LIHI certification and the third statewide. The 465-million watt Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project, co-owned by PGE and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, in central Oregon was LIHI-certified last March, making it the second-largest LIHI project in the nation. The other Oregon facility with LIHI certification is the 4.3-million watt Falls Creek Dam, northeast of Eugene.
LIHI certifies hydro projects after they have passed a rigorous series of tests that demonstrate minimum impact on fish and wildlife. Because of the impact on fish and other environmental factors, electricity from a U.S. hydro plant may not be considered eligible to be sold as “renewable” power until the related generating project has received LIHI certification. Wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy have been historically accepted as renewable.
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Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves more than 804,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon.
For more information, contact:
Elaina Medina, PGE,