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Eric Boardman

OK, so the 50kW it generates is enough to power 5 homes? And it will save them $400k/yr in electricity? Wouldn't that mean the average home spends $80k/yr in electricity?


This type of project is exactly what we should be doing, with relatively low cost and low risk and inherently environmentally friendly. There must be hundreds of opportunities to extract energy from streams and storm water run-off in Portland's hills. I also think it is very clever that the energy is generated when and where it is needed, so when more waste treatment is needed more energy is naturally produced.

We are spending billions to build a pipe to move Portland’s sewage and storm water to North Portland. Could the “big pipe” have turbines?


Last time I checked we already have a water mill on a massive scale on the Columbia River at Bonneville Dam. Portland should pursue more of the type of co-generation systems that you talk about for the bulk of this post.


Yes we have a massive water mill, but at a devastating cost to our culture and the natural environment. This project has no such impact.

David Wolff

Good article Brian but Eric has a point - the math doesn't work. What is the real story?

Brett Laurila

I love that this alternative technology is being investigated by our local civic entities. This technology could would water supply infrastructure as well.

It is, however, not new.

The City of Santa Monica did a similar project with a private developer about 25 years ago. A micro-hydro project on the City's water service supply to, and from, a reservoir. (I was lucky enough to work as an intern for the engineering firm that did the design, while in school at the time.)

It is something that the City's two costliest Bureaus should look into further.

Shane O'Hara

The new math still does not add up. It implies a house uses 10kW/year. The new system saves $400,000 and provides 470kW (enough to power 47 houses). Annual cost to power a house is $8,500?

Are you sure this will save $400,000/year in maintenance costs. That seems a little too good to be true.

Shane O'Hara

Neat idea nonetheless.

Brian Libby

Sorry about that, gang. Did I mention we writers can be lousy at math? I tested out of math in college but since then my skills have atrophied exponentially. Shane, if you or anyone else would like to suggest how that paragraph should be written numbers-wise based on the original info from the Business Journal article, I'd be happy to make it part of an updated update.

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