Nine days without power: My ice storm story as an EWEB customer and employee
While beautiful and peaceful, buying a home on the edge of the forest and surrounded by trees has its tradeoffs. Moving “upriver,” I knew there would be more threats to prepare for, including Mother Nature’s seasonal surprises.Find Out More
Leaburg Decommissioning Action Plan
Plan details next steps through regulatory processes to begin dismantling Leaburg Dam by 2032.Find Out More
Currin Substation: End of year update
EWEB Engineer Philip Peterson explains what's been happening in the final stretch to complete the substation rebuild.Find Out More
EWEB Recognized with Excellence in Communications Awards from American Public Power Association
We are proud to have been recognized with two Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards for 2023 from the American Public Power Association (APPA).Find Out More
EWEB now offering a Smart Thermostat rebate program
EWEB is excited to announce a new residential rebate program to provide electric customers with free or greatly discounted Smart Thermostats to customers whose primary source of heating is from an electric forced-air furnace or heat pump.Find Out More
Have an energy efficient and water conscious holiday season
The holiday season is officially upon us. Whether you are celebrating a special holiday or just sharing a meal with close friends and family, hosting can cause some unexpected energy and water usage increases – resulting in a higher utility bill. We’ve prepared some tips on how you can save energy and water this holiday season.Find Out More
River Road Substation returns to service after infrastructure upgrades
Supply chain shortages and proactive infrastructure investments, including constructing seismic foundations and implementing control modernization, have played a role in the substation's return-to-service timeline.Find Out More
The importance of managed electric vehicle charging explained
EWEB has much to handle related to EV charging infrastructure. To ensure that the switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles reduces the most emissions possible at the lowest cost possible, we need to implement managed EV charging.Find Out More
Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter storm season
Winter is coming, which increases the likelihood of storm-related power outages. It's important to be prepared, and there are simple actions you can take right now.Find Out More
EWEB seeks public input on electric vehicle, demand response standards
EWEB is seeking public input on the potential adoption of updated standards for electric vehicles (EVs) and demand response programs. The potential standards are derived from the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.Find Out More
Public Power Week Poster Contest 2023
It’s that time of year again! October 1-7 is Public Power Week. To celebrate, EWEB is holding our annual poster contest for fifth graders in our service area. Help us pick the winners.Find Out More
Salmon Return to Finn Rock Reach
Finn Rock Reach and other restoration projects throughout the Middle McKenzie provide conditions to help young fish survive to adulthood.Find Out More
EWEB programs reflect community values
EWEB is here to serve our customer-owners and provides programs that reflect the values of our community.Find Out More
Where is EWEB in planning our future electricity supply?
In August, we reached a milestone: EWEB’s five-member elected Board of Commissioners approved an action plan to guide our energy supply choices for the next 2-3 years. How did we get here?Find Out More
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.Find Out More
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Hydropower Lights Up Our Lives
June 13, 2017
We are fortunate to have one of the cleanest power portfolios in the nation, with almost no electricity sourced from fossil fuels. How much do you know about our community's primary power resource—clean, renewable hydropower?
We have a lot to appreciate here in Eugene, from our beautiful parks and open spaces, to world class sports, great craft beer, clean water, and beautiful weather (well, for at least a few months of the year). When you think of all the things that make Eugene a great place to live, one thing you might not immediately consider is our energy source. If you are an EWEB customer, you're experiencing the benefits of hydropower, maybe without even realizing it.
Our beautiful local rivers not only support diverse recreation, vibrant farms, and abundant fish and wildlife, but they also are our primary source of clean, reliable and affordable energy.
Hydropower is a form of renewable energy that uses water stored in dams, or flowing in rivers, to create electricity. Falling or flowing water spins a turbine, activating a generator that converts the energy into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid to be used by homes and businesses.
Nearly 80 percent of Eugene's power comes from hydroelectric projects.
EWEB customers own or co-own four such projects: Leaburg, Stone Creek, Walterville and Carmen-Smith. The Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project, located 70 miles east of Eugene on the upper McKenzie River is our largest utility-owned power source, and has reliably served Eugene with low-cost hydropower since 1963.
Carmen-Smith helps us manage electricity prices because the generator can ramp up and down to meet our customers' peak energy needs. In other words, Carmen-Smith operates when our community needs power the most and when buying that power on the wholesale market would be most expensive.
Our region's hydroelectric plants are valuable also as a carbon-free generation resource. Because it's fueled by water, the Northwest's hydroelectric power base does not produce air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to hydropower, the region is able to avoid the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 10 million cars. That means we're all breathing easier thanks to the clean air benefits of hydropower.
Resiliency is another key benefit of our local hydro generation projects. We are working on building a 'resilient spine' in our electric transmission system. The idea is to enable us to move power from local generating resources to critical facilities, such as hospitals and public safety agencies, in an emergency. With about 110 MW of capacity, reliable and locally-controlled Carmen-Smith plays a significant role in this concept.
This month, we're joining Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and other Pacific Northwest utilities that use hydropower in promoting Hydropower Flows Here, an education and information campaign about the various attributes of this renewable, clean, reliable source of electricity that powers nearly 60 percent of Northwest homes and businesses. Here are some interesting hydro facts from BPA:
Hydropower is efficient. Hydropower plants at dams convert about 90 percent of the energy in falling water into electrical energy. By comparison, fossil-fueled plants lose more than half of the energy content of their fuel as waste heat and gases.
Hydropower is secure. Water from our rivers is largely a domestic resource that is not subject to disruptions from foreign suppliers, cost fluctuations in power markets, international political crises or transportation outages.
Hydropower is flexible. By adjusting the amount of water flowing through the dams, hydropower can be increased or decreased very quickly to meet changes in demand for power. This meets a fundamental requirement of all electric grids, which is that demand must exactly match supply at all times to keep the system stable.
Hydropower allows for the growth of other renewable resources. Hydropower is a great "back-up" for wind and solar power. For example, it can be ramped up to meet demand when the wind is not blowing, and dialed down at times of high winds.
Hydropower is affordable. Because hydropower costs less than most energy sources, states that get the majority of their electricity from hydropower—like Idaho, Washington and Oregon—have lower energy bills than the rest of the country.
The next time you turn on the light switch, make a pot of coffee or charge your electric vehicle, remember that "Hydropower Flows Here!"