Joined by Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio, the company broke ground on the project yesterday at Dorena Lake. Operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and previously used for flood control and recreation, the Dorena Lake Dam does not currently produce power. Riverbank Power will retrofit the dam to create a run-of-river hydroelectric facility, which will produce 15GWh/yr to power 1200 households in Oregon.

The project will employ between 30 and 40 people during the construction phase, and represents a $25.26M total investment in the local economy. The project was approved by USACE and given a 50-year operating license.

“I congratulate Riverbank Power on this historic groundbreaking at the Dorena Lake Hydroelectric Project in Lane County,” Senator Wyden said. “This project will provide 1,200 Oregon homes and businesses with renewable hydroelectric power, and do so while improving fish habitat and reducing CO2 emissions. I also want to commend the Corps of Engineers for working with Riverbank to expand the use of Dorena Lake Dam to include power production. I think this project can serve as an example for how other low-impact hydroelectric projects can be built and I look forward to its completion.”

During the permitting phase, Riverbank Power worked with the local watershed council, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and other stakeholders to ensure that the project would protect and enhance local fish and wildlife habitats. Specifically, the Dorena Lake hydroelectric project will fund a fish habitat restoration and enhancement program in the Row River watershed.