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Energy Prices Pause Hydropower Project On Payette River

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The Black Canyon diversion dam was built in 1924 on the Payette River.

The Black Canyon Dam was built in 1924 on the Payette River northeast of Emmett. The two original generators create 10 megawatts of power and help protect against flooding. The Bureau of Reclamation was planning to install a third power plant at Black Canyon, but the project is now on hold.

“The hydropower at this point is out of the picture, until market rates improve favorably," says David Walsh with the Bureau of Reclamation. "Meanwhile we’ll proceed with the safety improvements we had outlined originally.”  

Walsh says the expense of building the third power plant outweighed the possible benefits of power generation at the dam given the current cost of energy. The bureau still plans to make safety updates at the almost 100-year-old facility.

Hydropower supplied nearly 60 percent of Idaho’s electricity in 2016.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.

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