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EWEB Board to weigh decommissioning of Leaburg Hydroelectric Project

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC
The Leaburg Hydroelectric Dam on the McKenzier River.

The utility that operates a 90-year-old hydroelectric dam on the McKenzie River says it’s considering a proposal to remove it.

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC
A sign near a park in the McKenzie River Corridor calls for the deactivation and removal of the Leaburg Hydroelectric Project.

A spokesperson for EWEB says the board was receptive to general manager Frank Lawson’s recommendation to decommission the Leaburg project. Environmental, social, and financial aspects were all discussed, said EWEB’s electric generation manager, Lisa Krentz.

“The Leaburg Project, although it provides clean, renewable energy, it only serves about 4% of our community’s needs and is expected to cost somewhere between $117 to $230 per megawatt hour," said Krentz.

"Which is extremely expensive considering the other carbon-free resources that are available to us.”

EWEB plans to petition the Bonneville Power Administration to replace Leaburg’s energy generation, at lower cost.

Meanwhile, environmental groups including Cascadia Wildlands have voiced support for decommissioning the Leaburg site.

The board will vote on the proposal at its January meeting.

©2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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