Major water pipelines in the city of Portland, Oregon, are now producing renewable electricity after a new energy system was officially switched on, the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and Lucid Energy have announced.

The new LucidPipe Power System project uses the gravity-fed flow of water inside a PWB pipeline to spin four 42" turbines that are now producing electricity for Portland General Electric (PGE) customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The system, which was installed at no cost to PWB or the City of Portland, is the first project in the US to secure a 20-year PPA for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline. It will begin full energy production within the next two months.

Fully financed in October 2014 with capital from Harbourton Alternative Energy, a subsidiary of Harbourton Enterprises, the project will generate approximately $2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over the 20-year PPA period. PWB and Harbourton will share in the revenue, and after 20 years, PWB will have the right to own the system and all the energy it produces.

"Water agencies are looking for ways to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy and investors are seeking opportunities in smart water and energy infrastructure," said Gregg Semler, President and CEO of Lucid Energy, Inc. "The industry is looking to Portland as an example of how all of these entities can partner to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower to generate investment returns and reduce the cost of delivering clean, safe drinking water."

The first installation of the LucidPipe Power System is at Riverside Public Utilities in Riverside, California. Lucid Energy is currently exploring opportunities with municipalities, water agencies and renewable energy investors from around the world.