Oregon, New York projects earn low-impact certification

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has certified the 15.8-MW Willamette Falls project in Oregon and the 2.2-MW Newton Falls project in New York as �low-impact� hydropower.

Portland General Electric owns and operates Willamette Falls, on the Willamette River between Oregon City and West Linn, in north-central Oregon. The project features one operating powerhouse built in 1895, the 13-unit T.W. Sullivan development. PGE is in the process of decommissioning a second powerhouse, the Blue Heron Paper Co. development, shut down in 2003.

Willamette Falls (No. 2233) operates in a run-of-river mode and does not provide water storage or flood control, Portland, Maine-based LIHI said. PGE is implementing a number of measures and building facilities to improve fish passage, the organization said.

Brookfield Power owns and operates 2.2-MW Newton Falls (No. 7000), which features two dams and powerhouses, the Upper and Lower developments. The project, on the Oswegatchie River, in Clifton, N.Y., generates about 9,500 MWh annually, LIHI said.

LIHI certified both projects Feb. 29. The voluntary program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low-impact facilities for emerging �green� energy markets.

To receive LIHI certification, an applicant must demonstrate its project meets criteria addressing river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether the dam is recommended for removal.

Since 2001, LIHI has certified nearly three dozen hydro facilities it says demonstrate minimal effects on fish and wildlife. (HNN 2/12/08) Applications to recertify two projects are pending, as are four new applications, the organization said.

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