City eyes hydro generation

When Penticton council asked residents how they wanted the city to deal with rising electricity costs, one of the answers they got back was by pursuing alternative energy generating sources.

Tuesday evening council voted unanimously to apply for provincial funding to investigate the economic feasibility of generating hydro electricity at the Penticton Creek and Greyback Dam.

Coun. Garry Litke, who sits on the city’s climate action committee which recommended applying for the money, pointed out the District of Lake Country already has such a facility.

“In Lake Country they have taken advantage of the fact that there is a change in elevation of their water supply,” Litke told council. “They’ve installed a pelton wheel (water turbine) and have received awards for it. They generate some electricity from that.

“This is simply to take a look at whether it is feasible for us to use the change in elevation from the Greyback reservoir down to the water treatment plant ... to generate electricity.”

According to the city’s director of operations Mitch Moroziuk, a municipal small hydro feasibility study was completed in 2008 by a University of Victoria student.

Moroziuk cautioned that the study used “ballpark figures that were obtained from the internet” and that the manner in which the Penticton Creek Greyback reservoir system operates now is different than in 2008, including the recent expansion of the installation of new technology that allows for more use of creek water instead of lake water.

The study estimated that the design and construction costs of the generation facility would be around $14.8 million with annual maintenance costs of about $100,000 a year.

However, it could generate 28,600 megawatt hours a year worth of electricity, the study calculated, with annual power sales totaling about $2 million and a net profit of over $11 million in a 20-year time frame.

“The report concluded that the generation and sale of electricity is feasible,” Moroziuk said.


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