Hillsboro announces new hydroelectric renewable energy project
A recently completed renewable energy project in Hillsboro will help power electric vehicle charging stations, lighting and concessions at the city's Gordon Faber Recreation Complex.
The completion of the Hillsboro In-Pipe Hydroelectric Project was jointly announced Wednesday, Oct. 14, by the Hillsboro city government, Energy Trust of Oregon, Portland General Electric and InPipe Energy.
It's the first renewable energy project that features the In-PRV, a "smart" water and micro-hydro system that generates electricity by harvesting excess pressure from a city water pipeline.
The system bypasses an existing pressure control valve, but instead of dissipating the pressure, it converts it into electricity that is fed to the grid.
The new technology will generate about 200,000 kWh of electricity per year — helping to power lighting, electric vehicle charging stations and concessions at Hillsboro's Gordon Faber Recreation Complex, which includes Ron Tonkin and Hillsboro Stadiums — officials said. That's equivalent to the annual electricity use of about 20 residential PGE customers.
It also amounts to $24,000 worth of electricity at PGE's retail price of about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
It will also provide pressure management that helps save water and extend the life of the pipeline while reducing more than 162,000 pounds of carbon annually — the equivalent of more than 240,000 driven miles off the road, officials said.
The project cost $509,000, according to the Energy Trust of Oregon. More than half of the cost was covered by a $268,500 grant from the Portland General Electric Renewable Development Fund.
"As a growing city, we're excited to pioneer this very practical new form of renewable energy that will help us continue to meet our climate action goals and build resilience," said Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway in a statement.
Maria Pope, president and chief executive officer of Portland General Electric, said the project is an example of how the utility can support on-demand, cost-effective renewable energy generation within communities.
"From the In-Pipe Hydroelectric Project to sourcing their power from 100% clean wind, Hillsboro is a leader in sustainability," Pope said, thanking PGE's Green Future customers for their support for local renewable energy projects.
Dave Moldal, senior program manager at Energy Trust of Oregon, said such projects can be replicated across the region.
Similar in-pipe hydroelectric projects have been created previously in larger-scale projects, but this is the first time the technology has been introduced to a small-scale system like Hillsboro's, officials said.
"Water and energy are the most critical resources on the planet," stated Gregg Semler, president and chief executive officer of InPipe Energy, a smart water technology company that produces renewable energy from existing infrastructure. "Water agencies across the country are being challenged with rising costs and aging infrastructure. Our In-PRV is a product that easily integrates into existing water pipelines and helps water agencies with both of these issues by enabling them to precisely manage pressure, save water, extend the life of their infrastructure and offset costs by producing renewable energy."
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