Portland General Electric wins Edison Award for hydro project fish passage work

The Edison Electric Institute has named Portland General Electric a 2010 Edison Award winner for its fish intake and bypass structure at Pelton Round Butte hydro project and dam. The announcement was made at EEI’s Annual Convention and Expo in Florida.

Portland General Electric and Public Service Enterprise Group both were named winners of a domestic Edison Award, while British Columbia Transmission Corporation and Hydro-Quebec were honored as joint winners of the international Edison Award, EEI reported.

The Edison Award is presented annually by EEI and recognizes U.S. and international electric utilities for their innovation and role in advancing the industry. A panel of former electric company chief executives selected recipients of the 83rd annual award.

In an agreement with Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, PGE in 2009 completed a fish intake and bypass project at its 465-MW Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project dam. For the first time in 40 years, Chinook, sockeye and steelhead salmon will be able to complete their life cycles as the juvenile fish are passed downstream to the Deschutes River basin. PGE co-owns the facility with the tribes. 

The project involves what is termed the Selective Water Withdrawal (SWW) Structure, a 273-foot-tall intake facility that attracts fish traveling downstream and provides safe passage for the salmon to be sorted and transferred. The SWW satisfies water quality requirements and reintroduces historical water temperature patterns of the lower Deschutes River, all while maintaining the hydroelectric facility’s generating capacity. The SWW is the only known floating surface fish collection facility coupled with power generation in the world.

PGE collaborated with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and more than 22 local, state and federal agencies, environmental groups, engineering and consulting firms before completing the project.

“The effort by PGE to team up with so many parties and gain the support needed to move ahead with the project is almost as spectacular as the finished product itself,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “The company’s outstanding commitment to improving the salmon’s habitat resonates not only with local communities, but with the power industry, which is paying close attention to this great sustainability achievement via PGE’s top-notch engineering.”

Jim Piro, president and chief executive officer of PGE, said: “We couldn’t have accomplished the project without the collaboration and commitment from the Warm Springs Tribes, our employees, federal and state resources agencies and our contractors. To be able to re-license the project for 50 years ensures that we will retain the long-term benefits of this renewable resource for our customers.”

Public Service Enterprise Group

PSEG was recognized by the judges for its bold and innovative growth strategy that is geared toward clean energy, energy efficiency and jobs. Specifically, the company focused on combating climate change and creating jobs through energy efficiency efforts, the development of renewable resources and developing clean central station energy, investing up to $5 billion dollars in the process.

PSEG is investing in energy audits for thousands of homes and businesses in New Jersey, while also installing innovative energy-efficient and long-lasting streetlights. PSE&G, the company’s New Jersey regulated gas and electric utility subsidiary, is installing solar panels on 200,000 utility poles and is constructing the two largest solar farms in the state on company property.

PSEG Power, PSEG’s merchant generation subsidiary, is investing more than $1.5 billion in clean central station power, including the most advanced pollution-control technologies for its New Jersey coal plants, while also expanding capacity and extending the life of its nuclear facilities.

An unregulated subsidiary, PSEG Solar Source is producing electricity at two large-scale solar farms in Florida and Ohio. PSEG is also exploring development of a 350-MW wind farm off the southern coast of New Jersey and has invested $20 million in compressed-air energy storage. PSEG’s collective efforts have created thousands of green jobs for the state of New Jersey.

British Columbia Transmission Corporation and Hydro-Quebec

BCTC and Hydro-Quebec were selected for their joint submission, earning the two Canadian utilities the 83rd annual award.

In an effort to improve reliability, inspections and safety, Hydro-Quebec Research Institute (IREQ) developed LineScout Technology (LST), a robotic device able to inspect high-voltage transmission lines across long passages. IREQ worked extensively with BCTC to implement LST on BCTC’s large water crossing transmission lines, some of which were built more than 30 years ago and pose unusual challenges during inspection.

The remote-controlled robot uses cameras to inspect line conditions and discover irregularities, while also employing a smart navigation system to pinpoint locations in need of attention. The LST is able to maneuver obstacles such as splices, hardware components and aviation warning markers. Unlike with conventional transmission line servicing, the robot can service the lines while they are energized, saving precious company resources, reducing safety risks and downtime.

Hydro-Quebec generates, transmits and distributes electricity. Its sole shareholder is the Quebec government. It uses mainly renewable generating options, in particular hydropower, and supports the development of wind energy through purchases from independent power producers. It also conducts research in energy-related fields, such as energy efficiency.

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