hydropower

Alternative Energy
5:01 am
Wed April 16, 2014

PUD Changes Course; No Dam for Skykomish River’s Sunset Falls

Skykomish River
Courtesy Andrea Matzke

Plans to put a dam on one of Washington’s most scenic rivers have been called off.

The Snohomish County Public Utilities District says it has a better plan for the area on the Skykomish River near Index. But opponents of the project say it’s still too early to declare a victory. 

Snohomish County PUD was planning an inflatable weir for the bend in the river near Sunset Falls, not far from Index. The utility said it had a design that would rise and fall with the river, making it safe for endangered fish runs and minimally disruptive to the scenic value of the area.

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Hydropower
1:02 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Feds OK Snohomish County PUD's Tidal Power Project In Admiralty Inlet

Admiralty Inlet
hj_west Flickr

Federal regulators have given unanimous approval for an underwater energy project powered by the tides in Washington’s Admiralty Inlet.

Two turbines will take advantage of the fast-moving currents and daily tidal movements in the busy passage west of Whidbey Island, at a depth of about 200 feet.

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Energy Futures
5:01 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Sunset Falls Dam Fight: Citizen Activists Accuse SnoPUD Of Waste, Secret Meeting

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.
Bellamy Pailthorp

New accusations are fueling an ongoing controversy over a proposal to put a small inflatable dam on one of the Northwest’s scenic treasures. Opponents accuse the Snohomish County PUD of clouding the issue with confusing information and a secret meeting.

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Environment
5:05 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Dam Dispute Surfaces in Salmon Policy

Pink salmon running in the Skykomish River at Sunset Falls.
Andrea Matzke at Wild Washington Rivers

The road map for balancing environmental needs with the need to generate power from the Northwest's hydroelectric dams is being revised. And the move has some people worried it could open the door to destructive dam projects on Washington rivers.

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Environment
5:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Proposed hydro-energy project has Index saying ‘no dam way’

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

At a time when Washington state has been making headlines for the largest dam removal project ever on the Elwha River, Snohomish County is proposing a new one.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District says the proposed dam’s modern low-impact design would help the county diversify its energy portfolio and meet the future power demands of a growing population.

But the location of the proposed dam—on a wild and scenic stretch of the Skykomish River near the small town of Index—has many locals banding together against the project. 

'No dam way'

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon June 10, 2013

FERC hearing on proposed Skykomish River hydro project

A view upstream from the site on the south fork of the Skykomish River, where an intake structure and underwater cavern would go for a new dam
courtesy Andrea Matzke

Federal officials will be in Index this week to hear from the public about a controversial proposal for a new dam on the Skykomish River.

Representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will tour the proposed dam site at Sunset Falls, and take public comments as part of the licensing process.

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Alternative energy
10:06 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Federal bill would smooth way for small dams, hydropower

This weir at Youngs Creek, near Sultan, is situated above a waterfall, minimizing its impact on fish runs. The Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013 would ease federal licensing on small dams, if they generate less than 10 megawatts of power.
Courtesy Snohomish County PUD

Big dams that block rivers and salmon runs are out of vogue. But new legislation could clear the way for more small ones.

The removal of Washington’s Elwha dam — the largest dam removal in U.S. history — marked the end of an era in which big dams were embraced.

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Environment
10:12 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Proposed dam puts Skykomish on list of ten most-endangered rivers

The proposed site for a new dam on the South Fork of the Skykomish River
Photo courtesy of Jeff Smith Save the Skykomish River

It’s designated as a State Scenic Waterway and recommended for federal protection. Yet the south fork of the Skykomish River has just been named one of the ten most endangered rivers in the country by the national environmental group, American Rivers.

It’s because of a controversial proposal to build a new dam.

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Energy development
5:41 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Grants awarded to improve hydropower generation in Wash.

RICHLAND, Wash. – New projects in the Pacific Northwest may soon improve the efficiency and reduce costs of hydropower generation, thanks to a new round of federal spending announced today.

Two projects in Washington received grants to help improve hydropower generation.

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Environment
9:30 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Turbines to shut down for good at doomed Elwha dams

The 108-foot tall Elwha Dam was built without fish ladders.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Nearly 100 years of hydropower production comes to a close today (Wednesday) on the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. The turbines at the two dams on the river are going off line for good in preparation for the biggest dam removal in North American history.

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Hydropower
1:20 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

More snowpack means more electricity this summer

Seattle City Light's Diablo Dam on the Skagit River. 7/22/2001
Flickr user Hunda flickr.com

The Pacific Northwest has emerged from winter with an above average snowpack, and that's good news for the region's hydroelectric dams. Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco says, “The snowfall we have received in the mountains this winter was fantastic.”

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