November 10, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Canal power project secures $72M

Nov 21, 2011

November 10, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Canal power project secures $72M

Canal power project secures $7.2M

By Tim Doran / The Bulletin
Published: November 10. 2011 4:00AM PST

A Bend-based company has received a $7.2 million federal loan guarantee for a project to generate 3 to 3.5 megawatts of electricity with water flowing through an irrigation canal in Jefferson County, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced Wednesday.

EBD Hydro received the financial backing for its 45-mile Hydroelectric Project, named for its location about 45 miles north of the point in Bend where the North Unit Irrigation District diverts water from the Deschutes River into its main canal.

“It’s great news,” said Josh Gordon, EBD Hydro project manager. “We’re very excited.”

The guarantee through the Rural Energy for America Program means the USDA will back financing for the project provided by the Oregon Department of Energy, according to Gordon and a news release from the USDA’s Oregon Rural Development Office.

He expects construction to begin before the end of the year. The work will create around 35 to 40 jobs, according to the news release, and operating the hydroelectric plant will create three more.

Under the proposal, the 45-mile Hydroelectric Project will not have a dam. EBD Hydro plans to divert water from the irrigation canal, run it through turbines and generate enough electricity to power between 2,100 and 2,450 homes.

The pipes and turbines will be located about two miles north of Haystack Reservoir, several miles east of Culver, according to documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Power generation will only take place when water is running in the canal. Except for stock runs, most irrigation districts shut off irrigation water in the winter months.

EBD Hydro began the process more than two years ago, Gordon said. While it has been difficult, the company appreciated the support the project received from the governor, state and federal lawmakers.

The Rural Energy for America Program offers funding to help rural businesses with renewable energy projects and those that increase energy efficiency, according to the news release.

EBD Hydro is one of three Oregon rural businesses to receive loan guarantees totaling $10.85 million during fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, the news release stated. Another 36 businesses received $1.2 million in grants through the program during the fiscal year.

— Reporter: 541-383-0360

Published Daily in Bend Oregon by Western Communications, Inc. © 2011

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