Reclamation EA endorses additional unit for 10-MW Black Canyon

BOISE, Idaho, U.S. 11/1/11 (PennWell) -- The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a final environmental assessment endorsing the addition of a third turbine-generator at 10-MW Black Canyon Diversion Dam, which would at least double the capacity of the Idaho project.

Reclamation said the EA's preferred alternative is addition of a unit of 10 to 12.5 MW to the Payette River project, the first unit to be added to the Federal Columbia River Power System in more than 30 years. The EA included a Finding of No Significant Impact for the proposal.

Black Canyon Diversion Dam is a 183-foot-tall concrete gravity dam with an ogee overflow spillway. Built in 1924, the dam diverts irrigation water to Reclamation's Payette Division through Black Canyon Canal. The two-unit powerhouse supplies electricity to the Southern Idaho Federal Power System.

In addition to increasing project capacity, the new turbine-generator would be designed to generate power during high flow periods as water passes through the turbines rather than over the spillway.

Reclamation said a contract could be issued in late 2012 for the estimated $40 million construction project. The work, funded by Bonneville Power Administration, is expected to start in 2013 and be completed in about two years.

The final EA may be obtained from the Reclamation Internet site at www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ea/idaho/blackcanyon/index.html.

The Federal Columbia River Power System includes 31 federally owned hydroelectric projects in the Columbia and Snake river basins.

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