Energy Northwest in Richland has agreed to operate and maintain the Tieton Dam Hydroelectric Project in Yakima County.
The one-year contract is worth $350,000 and may be renewed annually.
The agency will be able to do the maintenance work with current staff at its Packwood Lake Hydroelectric Project, which is about 35 miles away in Lewis County. That will provide some economies of scale, said Jim Gaston, Energy Northwest general manager of energy services and development. There are no plans to add staff.
The additional work also will further Energy Northwest's expertise in operation and maintenance of hydro facilities, he said.
The Tieton project is a 15.6-megawatt facility that operates seasonally. It is smaller than the Packwood project, which has a generating capacity of 27.5 megawatts and was Energy Northwest's first electric power generation project when it began operating in 1964.
The Tieton Hydropower Project was built in 2005-06 at the base of Tieton Dam, which was constructed from 1917-25 to provide irrigation water. The project operates when water is released for irrigation from May through October.
The Tieton project is owned by the Southern California Public Power Authority on behalf of the California cities of Burbank and Glendale, which have agreements to purchase the power. Burbank is responsible for overall operation and maintenance.
The agreement Energy Northwest signed has an emphasis on operating and maintaining the Tieton project using best utility practices and meeting equipment manufacturer recommendations. Energy Northwest also will meet all regulatory and safety standards and requirements.
"This agreement complements Energy Northwest's clean energy generating assets," said Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest's chief executive officer.
Energy Northwest operates the Northwest's only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, and also has hydro, wind and solar power generating projects.
-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; email@example.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews