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The computer company was transferred an exemption for a Jefferson County area project from EBD Hydro

On Apple’s company web site, they make a point of touting their desire to progress toward 100 percent renewable energy.

“Our goal is to power every facility at Apple entirely with solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal,” the site reads. “So, we’re investing in our own onsite energy production, establishing relationships with suppliers to procure renewable energy off the grid and reducing our energy needs as our employee base grows.”

It seems the computer giant took another possible step in that direction recently when they transferred an exemption from licensing for a 45-mile hydroelectric project from EBD Hydro.

According a notice published in the Federal Register on April 4, “The project will be located in the concrete drop structure of the North Unit Irrigation District’s main irrigation canal in Jefferson County.”

The Bulletin reported that the project, as originally envisioned by EBD Hydro, would divert water out of the canal for approximately half a mile before running it through a hydroelectric turbine and discharging it back into the canal. The company estimated it would generate 3 to 3.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power as many as 2,450 homes.

Attempts to reach Apple for comment on the project were not successful by press deadline.

The move on the hydro project is the latest by Apple in a string of actions that will impact power infrastructure in the Central Oregon, and particularly Crook County, area.

For the past few months, the company has financed construction on some considerable water system upgrades for the City of Prineville. Once completed, the city will gain two new wells, a mile of new water lines, and a 1 million-gallon water storage tank near the western boundary of the city limits. In return for Apple’s investment, as new customers join the city water system, the city will reimburse the company with the system development charges generated.

The primary goal for Apple was to improve water system redundancy.

“They have to know that they are always going to have water available to them,” said city engineer Eric Klann.

So far, the construction on the mile of water lines is complete. Meanwhile, work continues on the two new wells and holding tank.

“The smaller well is going to be done within weeks,” Klann said. “It is pretty much ready to go. The large 1,000-gallon-per-minute well, it has been drilled, the screen is installed, and next week we will be test-pumping it. We will test it for seven days, where we just run it as hard as we can, stressing the aquifer to see what the capacity is.”

The well should be operational by the end of June, Klann said, and construction on the storage tank will conclude in July.

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