Three Sisters Irrigation District, Bend
Estimated annual generation: 3.1 million kilowatt hours
For more than a decade, Three Sisters Irrigation District has teamed up with government and conservation organizations to invest in irrigation modernization improvements that increase water delivery to farms and ranches, improve stream flow, help restore fish habitat, save energy and produce hydropower.
The district transformed more than one-half of its open canal systems to efficient pressurized pipes that deliver water to 75 farms, eliminating irrigation pumps and saving about 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Overall, the piping and restoration work conserved 28.2 cubic feet per second of water, enough to fill 24 Olympic-size swimming pools each day during the irrigation season, from April to September.
With key piping phases complete, the district embarked on a Main Canal Pipeline Project, which included installing a 700-kilowatt hydropower plant at the end of the main pipeline at the Watson Reservoir. In 2014, Energy Trust provided a $1 million cash incentive for the hydropower system, which is expected to generate about 3.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power 275 average Oregon homes a year.