Portland Water Pipeline Producing Renewable Energy
The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and Lucid Energy, a provider of renewable energy systems for in-pipe hydropower and smart water infrastructure, have flipped the switch, officially turning one of the city’s major water pipelines into a generator of renewable energy.
The LucidPipe Power System uses the gravity-fed flow of water inside a PWB pipeline to spin four 107-cm (42-inch) turbines that are now producing electricity for Portland General Electric (PGE)customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the utility, helping promote renewable power development and resource diversity for Oregon. The system, which was installed at no cost to PWB or the City of Portland, is the first project in the U.S. to secure a 20-year PPA for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline.
The system will begin full energy production within the next two months. LucidPipe has been tested and Certified by NSF International to NSF/ ANSI Standard 61 for use in potable water systems. It does not disrupt pipeline operations and has no environmental impact. Lucid Energy codeveloped the technology with Northwest Pipe Company, the largest manufacturer of steel water transmission pipe in the U.S.
“PGE’s goal is to be our customers’ partner in helping to build a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for Oregon,” said Brett Sims, PGE’s director of origination, structuring and resource strategy.
The patented LucidPipe Power System enables municipal facilities to generate clean, reliable, low-cost electricity from their gravity-fed water pipelines and effluent streams.
“The Water Bureau welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a Portland pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power as well,” said water bureau administrator David Shaff. “Water and energy are closely linked. The Lucid pipe system provides a way for the Water Bureau to contribute to generating electricity for our community in a clean, low-cost and renewable way.”
The project will generate approximately US$2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over the 20-year PPA period, enough electricity for more than 150 homes in Portland. After 20 years, PWB will have the right to own the system and all the energy it produces.
“Water agencies are looking for ways to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy and investors are seeking opportunities in smart water and energy infrastructure,” said Gregg Semler, president and CEO of Lucid Energy, Inc. “The industry is looking to Portland as an example of how all of these entities can partner to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower to generate investment returns and reduce the cost of delivering clean, safe drinking water.”
The first installation of the LucidPipe Power System is at Riverside Public Utilities in Riverside, California. Lucid Energy is currently exploring opportunities with municipalities, water agencies and renewable energy investors from around the world.