Energy Northwest names Brad Sawatzke chief executive officer

Brad Sawatzke was appointed chief executive officer of Energy Northwest last month.

Energy Northwest is a joint operating agency serving the needs of public power by providing reliable, low-cost electricity while promoting public power activities in the region. It comprises 27 public power member utilities from across the state.

Sawatzke previously was chief operating officer/chief nuclear officer for Energy Northwest. Before joining this company, he worked for Xcel Energy.

Energy Northwest owns the 27.5-MW Packwood Lake small hydroelectric project in Washington. This facility began operating in 1962 and was Energy Northwest’s first electric power project. To minimize its environmental impact, Packwood Lake features a small diversion and intake structure and a 5-mile-long underground pipeline to deliver water to the powerhouse.

“The Packwood Lake project produces electricity at significantly lower cost than similar facilities in the region,” the Energy Northwest website says. “Its power also is much less expensive than wind, solar and other renewable options.”

In 2017, Energy Northwest received a contract from to operate the Bull Run hydro plants for five years, with extension options.

And in late 2009, Energy Northwest received up to $800,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, manufacture, and install a new Pelton wheel turbine at Packwood Lake, which would increase annual generation by 6%.

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