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A New Source Of Hydropower: City Water Pipes


The turbine inside this Lucid Energy pipe generates electricity from the water passing through.

The turbine inside this Lucid Energy pipe generates electricity from the water passing through.

Courtesy of Lucid Energy

A Portland startup is generating power with small hydroelectric turbines inside a water pipe at SE 147th and Powell. Lucid Energy is still testing the system, which is not yet operating at full capacity, but the company is already producing power for Portland General Electric (PGE) customers. By the time it’s all up and running, it will generate enough energy to power 150 homes.

The project was financed by Harburton Alternative Energy at no cost to the city. Lucid has a 20-year agreement to sell the power the water pipe turbines to PGE. About five percent of that revenue will come back to the city, and the Portland Water Bureau will own the equipment.

We’ll talk with Lucid Energy CEO Gregg Semler about this new source of renewable energy and his plans to expand the project to other cities.

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