Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Youngs Creek hydropower project has received a 2012 Honor Award from the Seattle Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The PUD’s Youngs Creek facility started operation in October 2011 near Sultan, WA. It’s the first hydropower project in the state in nearly twenty years.
With a generating capacity of 7.5 megawatts, it produces enough energy at full capacity for nearly 6,000 homes. The project sits above a natural barrier, a waterfall, so as not to impact migrating fish such as salmon. Youngs Creek is a run-of-the-river project, including a three-mile underground pipeline dropping 920 feet in elevation from the intake to the powerhouse.
Throughout its development, the PUD consulted with a broad range of stakeholders, including local, state, and federal agencies, the Tulalip Tribes and community groups. The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, for example, was a key partner in helping to identify adequate levels of river flow and fish protection measures
“This backyard resource is a well-proven, cost-effective and carbon-free resource that complements other green energy including wind and solar,” said PUD Assistant General Manager of Water, Generation & Corporate Services Kim Moore.
Small hydropower projects, such as Youngs Creek, give the PUD greater flexibility with its power supply as they’re locally generated, reliable resources that provide energy at times of the year when it’s needed the most. It’s competitively priced compared with other green sources.
The bulk of the PUD’s energy comes from clean, renewable hydropower, generated at its projects in Western Washington and from Columbia Basin hydropower purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration. This resource has provided a reliable source of energy to the people of the Pacific Northwest for decades.
Source: Snohomish County PUD, Press Release, June 18, 2012. Media relations, 425-783-8444.