The Portland City Council voted 4-0 today to allow Lucid Energy to install a hydropower system in city water pipes.
The council approved a franchise agreement the Portland-based company needs to operate under city streets for 20 years.
Lucid will eventually lease the hydropower inside city pipes in exchange for a share of the revenue from electricity sales, estimated to be $55,000 in the first year.
The company will pay a $1,000 annual franchise fee, as well as sharing the costs of improvements to the water line at SE 147th and Powell.
Lucid Energy CEO Gregg Semler says his company’s in-pipe turbines work more like wind turbines than the turbines you see in dams. They only remove a small amount of excess pressure from the water system.
“We were able to design a system that really doesn’t impact the operation of what Portland was trying to do but at the same time they’re able to produce enough electricity to power 125 to 150 homes.”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales called the idea “something new under the street.”