BEND, OR -- Bend city officials are exploring opportunities to get involved with generating hydroelectric power within the municipal water system. City Manager Eric King says there’s already some infrastructure that lends itself to a hydro-project. "So, we’ve got water storage tanks up on Aubrey Butte and Overturf Butte. So, as the water comes down into town from those storage tanks, there’s gravity and energy, and so we would like to capture that energy and generate electric power and, as a result, the potential revenue source, as well." He tells KBND News that revenue could range from a couple hundred thousand to a million dollars.
City Councilors discussed the idea last week, after hearing potential concepts from Energy Trust of Oregon and an Energy Service Company (ESCo) that could help get a project off the ground. King says it is still early in the process and more fiscal analysis is needed. One of the things Councilors are considering is how to mitigate costs. "Bring somebody on so you really minimize that upfront cost; they’ll handle that for you. And then, as the revenue comes in from that project, a portion goes to the third party that built the hydro, then eventually there’s a payback. That type of analysis, that financial analysis will be something that we’ll be doing over the next couple of months." That analysis will be done over the next couple of months.