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C Canal hydro project starts producing power 

 

Facility will produce $250,000 worth of electricity annually 

 

By JOEL ASCHBRENNER 

H&N Staff Reporter

May 4, 2012

 

H&N photo by Joel Aschbrenner  Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Michael Conner, right, and Klamath Irrigation District farmer Ross Fleming flip the switch on the district’s new C Canal hydroelectric project Thursday. 

   The Klamath Irrigation District’s 1.1 megawatt C-Drop Hydroelectric Project started producing electricity Thursday.

 

     A top federal water official flipped the switch Thursday on a hydroelectric facility that will produce up to $250,000 worth of electricity a year for the Klamath Irrigation District.

 

   U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Conner said the 1.1 megawatt facility will help mitigate the rising cost of power for Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators.   Power rates for project irrigators have increased more than ten-fold since a deal for historically low rates expired in 2006.

 

   “We have to try to deal with that problem and this is a way to address those costs,” Connor said about the hydroelectric facility.

 

   The facility, named the C-Drop Hydroelectric Project, is on the Klamath Irrigation District’s C Canal near the district headquarters in the Henley area. It diverts water through an electrical turbine as it falls from the A Canal to the C Canal.

 

   The C-Drop can produce up to 3,000 megawatt-hours a year, enough energy to power about 113 homes. It is built at the same location as a hydroelectric facility that burned down more than 50 years ago.

 

   About 50 irrigators, federal agents and local officials endured chilly May winds for the dedication of the new project. There was an oversized ribbon cutting and even a commemorative coin minted for the occasion.  

 

   More projects

 

   Klamath County Commissioner Al Switzer said he hopes to see more hydroelectric facilities developed on canals and waterways around the Klamath Reclamation Project.

 

   “We’ve had a lot of division in our agriculture community and this is something that will help bring our ag community back together,” he said.

 

   The irrigation district will sell power back to the grid, with revenue increasing over the next 25 years as the district pays down the cost of building the facility.

 

   “It’s going to take some time,” said Ed Bair, a hay and potato farmer and member of the KID board, “but it will pay off.”  

 
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