EVERETT, Wash., U.S. 10/19/11 (PennWell) – The Snohomish County Public Utility District has officially opened a new hydropower project, the 7.5-MW Youngs Creek facility, near Sultan in the state of Washington.
The $29 million project, which took about three years to build, can generate enough power for about 2,000 homes. The dam, 12 feet tall and 65 feet wide, is the first dam built in Washington in nearly 20 years.
The project included a three-mile, underground pipeline that carries water down 920 feet to the powerhouse. Also, eight miles of underground and overhead transmission was built to carry power from the powerhouse to the Sultan substation.
The project was built above a waterfall, a natural barrier for migrating fish such as salmon. That means the project will not affect fish as they migrate upstream to spawn, officials said.
“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 Dave Aldrich, PUD Board President. “We’re focused on operating our projects to keep energy competitively priced in balance with fish, wildlife, recreational and cultural resources.”
Utility officials said the Youngs Creek Project gives the PUD greater flexibility with its power supply because it is a locally generated, reliable resource that provides power at times of the year when it is needed the most. Right now, about 80 percent of the power provided by PUD is hydropower.