Plans to construct a new third hydroelectric power plant at Black Canyon Diversion Dam along the Payette River near Emmett have been placed on hold -- due to a new business case analysis that shows construction costs are greater than the benefits of additional power generation, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials said.
“Early indications were: this was a financially-feasible project that would boost power generation by upgrading an existing Reclamation facility,” said Project Manager David Denton. “But using current energy prices, it’s apparent that the project should be placed on hold until energy prices rebound.”
Although the third hydroelectric unit project is on hold, some construction will still take place at the facility over the next few years. The Bureau of Reclamation plans to move forward with the design and relocation of a new power switchyard and upgrades to control systems at the dam.
“The switchyard and control systems are a top priority because they pose a clear safety risk to employees and facility equipment,” said Snake River Area Office Manager Roland Springer.
Black Canyon Diversion Dam is a multi-purpose facility that provides water for irrigation, hydropower, and recreation. It was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation back in 1924 as part of the Payette Division of the Boise Project.