Hydroelectric project on hold

Pacificorp asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to suspend the licensing proceedings for its six-megawatt Powerdale Hydro Electric project on the Hood River.

The request, if granted, will allow the company time to explore alternatives to licensing the project. one alternative could be "surrendering" or giving up the license. The company applied to the FERC in 1998 for a new license and it is expected soon.

Bill Eaquinto, vice president of hydro licensing for Pacificorp, said that a number of factors contributed to the company's request to pause the licensing project.

Analysis of the project indicates that future operations will cause power costs from Powerdale to jump significantly.

"It's a fairly small project, and when we began the licensing project in 1995, project economics were already marginal," said Eaquinto.

"Now we are faced with making significant capital improvements, and the cost to produce power from the project will increase beyond what makes sense for customers."

Making matters worse, a recent sediment study shows that project shutdowns are expected to occur often as a result of glacial sloughing from Mount Hood.

"Today, and well into the future, river flows will contain far more sediment than in the past, making normal operations impossible at times, and increasing operation and maintenance costs."

Pacificorp intends to seek input on Powerdale from state and federal fisheries agencies, the Warm Springs Indian Nation, irrigators and other key stakeholders in the process. Regardless of the final outcome of this review process, PacifiCorp does not anticipate removing the diversion dam for the project because it provides flows for fish counting and sorting facility adjacent to the dam, and is key to state and federal fish recovery plans in the basin.

PacifiCorp also owns and operates the Condit Hydroelectric Project across the Columbia River from Powerdale in Southwest Washington. In 1999, the company reached a settlement agreement with the Yakama Nation, state and federal agencies and environmental groups to remove the 125-foot high Condit Dam in 2006.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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