Upgrade work on the Boise diversion dam power plant has entered its final stages as US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Pacific Northwest region engineers begin fitting three turbine and generator units to the station.


The installation of the three units, totalling 3.4MW of generating capacity and due to enter operation this summer, marks the end of a three-year refurbishment, which has tried to maintain the external character of the 96-year old Boise river plant.

According to USBR, most of the power plant building and equipment on the main floor is to remain untouched, while electronic control panels are fitted out of view, and new hydroelectric equipment is installed on two lower floor levels.

Meanwhile, USBR’s Upper Colorado branch has modified experimental flow releases from the Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado river in order to cut the costs of obtaining replacement electricity to the tune of US$2M a month.

USBR began the experiment in January to see if it would benefit populations of the humpback chub, which is native to the region.

Under the changes, the start of daily increasing flows has been moved two hours earlier to 0700 during the morning peak electricity demand. Sunday releases have been reduced from 560m3/sec to 220m3/sec to help save water for releases during the week.

An environmental assessment, indicating no significant impact of the changes, has been released by USBR, the US geological survey and the National park service.

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USBR completes Boise diversion dam overhaul