Puget Sound Energy Seeking to Sell Small Hydroelectric Project
PSE Customers Would Continue Receiving Power from Pierce County Plant
BELLEVUE, Wash. (June 6, 2013) – Puget Sound Energy is preparing to sell a small, century-old hydroelectric plant in Pierce County and then purchase the facility’s power output from the new owner, a move designed to reduce PSE customers’ energy costs and financial risk.
In filings submitted today with utility regulators, PSE indicated the proposed transaction involving the Electron Hydroelectric Project would give PSE customers competitively priced power from Electron over the next 20 years when compared to other available power resources. The benefit to customers reflects both the price of the power PSE would acquire from Electron as well as the expense the utility would avoid from needed upgrades to the facility’s aging infrastructure.
“Electron has served our customers well for a long, long time, and under this arrangement, the project will continue to give them clean, low-cost power for years to come,” said Paul Wiegand, PSE senior vice president of Energy Operations. “The only discernible difference will be the company name displayed on the plant’s signage.”
PSE is asking the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to authorize the sale of the power operation to Electron Hydro LLC. The request also includes a 20-year agreement for PSE to purchase the plant’s power from Electron Hydro. A final sale is contingent on regulatory approval.
The Electron Hydroelectric Project is located in the western foothills of Mount Rainier, about 30 miles southeast of Tacoma, near Kapowsin. Electron’s four turbine generators have a rated generating capacity of about 26 megawatts. Because of the worn condition of the flume and penstocks, however, the project currently has less than 8 megawatts of generating capacity.
Besides Electron, PSE owns and operates two larger hydroelectric facilities, one at Snoqualmie Falls, the other on the Baker River in northwest Washington. The utility is nearing completion of a major, 3½-year redevelopment of the Snoqualmie Falls facility that is boosting its generating capacity to 54 megawatts, from 44 MW previously. In addition, PSE this summer will complete construction of a second powerhouse at Lower Baker Dam, increasing that hydro project’s total generating capacity to 200 MW, up from 170 MW today.
Electron Hydro is offering to hire the 14 PSE employees who maintain and operate the Electron facility, and plans to restore the powerhouse’s full generating capacity through upgrades to Electron’s infrastructure.
About Puget Sound Energy
Washington state’s oldest local energy utility, Puget Sound Energy serves 1.1 million electric customers and more than 760,000 natural gas customers in 10 counties. PSE meets the energy needs of its customers, in part, through cost-effective energy efficiency, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service that is safe, dependable and efficient. For more information, visit www.PSE.com, or follow PSE on Facebook and Twitter.
Christina Donegan, 1-888-831-7250