Skip to Main Content

Hydropower

Oregon has significant small hydropower resources—but they might not be where you expect.

  • Irrigation hydropower: Irrigation canals can be replaced with pipes, which creates pressure that can power a turbine and generate renewable electricity. These improvements can also save energy for farmers and conserve water for rivers and wildlife.
  • Municipal hydropower: Cities and other water providers can replace pressure reduction valves with hydropower turbines to regulate pressure and generate revenue.
  • Existing dams: Only three percent of dams in the U.S. generate electricity. Adding hydropower can leverage environmental benefits for fish and water.
  • Natural streams: Though rare, hydropower systems can be added to some natural streams while maintaining the natural environment.
  1. Establish your eligibility.

    Read More >

    To be eligible for an Energy Trust incentive, a hydropower project must:

    1. Be less than 20 megawatts in nameplate capacity (maximum rated output).
    2. Be located in the service territory of, or deliver power to, Portland General Electric or Pacific Power in Oregon.
  2. Give us a call.

    If you have a hydropower resource and are interested in using it to generate electricity, contact Lily Xu at 503.445.7625.

  3. Get the help you need.

    Depending on your project’s complexity, you may need a feasibility study or expert assistance to move through permitting or utility interconnection. Energy Trust may provide up to $200,000 in support for these and other types of project development activities, and we can help you identify engineers or other experts with the experience to help.

Project Development Assistance

Energy Trust provides support for expert project development assistance including, but not limited to, grant writing assistance, feasibility studies, final design, permitting, utility interconnection and construction management. We may pay up to 50 percent of the cost of hiring an outside consultant to provide expert assistance for these activities, up to a maximum of $200,000.

Project development assistance forms

  • Form 910E (PDF | Doc): Project Enrollment Application
  • Form 930RF (PDF | Doc): Request for Funding

Installation incentives

Incentive levels are based on a project’s cost in comparison to the market value of the energy produced, called above-market cost. There is no cap or fixed percentage of the amount of above-market costs we will pay. In return for our funding contribution, we ask for a negotiated share of the project’s Renewable Energy Certificates, which are held in trust for the ratepayers who pay the public purpose charge.

Incentives are subject to funding availability and may change.

Learn about hydropower basics

Not sure if you have enough head (pressure) and flow (moving water) to generate hydropower? Unsure what those terms mean? Take a few minutes to learn how hydropower systems work to harness the energy in moving water.

This Intro to Hydropower (© 2008 Home Power Inc.) article includes explanations of the terminology and system components involved in hydropower and gives simple techniques for estimating the capacity of hydrological resources, particularly streams.

Download Hydropower permitting and interconnection information

There are different state and federal permitting requirement for hydropower depending on a project’s size and location. For first-time developers, the permitting and utility interconnection processes can seem especially daunting. As described on the Details tab, Energy Trust offers Project Development Assistance incentives to encourage developers to engage permitting professionals to speed up the development process.

Learn about the federal permitting requirements for your project here.

The guidebooks below have been written for both new and experienced developers and are intended to serve as a roadmap to Oregon’s permitting requirements and the utility interconnection process.

Questions? Need Help? Contact Us.

We’re here to explain the process and benefits. Contact Lily Xu at 503.205.0975.

Success Stories

Three Sisters Irrigation District, Bend

Three Sisters Irrigation District, Bend

Cash Incentives: $1,000,000

Farmers Irrigation District, Hood River

Farmers Irrigation District, Hood River

Estimated Annual Savings: $150,000

Cash Incentives: $900,000