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Record Breaking Rainfall Among Other Reasons Result In Sharp Increase In Hyrdopower Generation

The Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors recently received an update on 2017 Middle Fork Project hydropower generation. Midway through the year, the forecast for year-end generation is 1,435,000 megawatt hours (MWhrs). This forecast represents a 79 percent increase over the 800,000 MWhrs anticipated in 2017.

The uptick in hydropower generation is the result of this year’s record-setting precipitation combined with warm summer temperatures. In addition to melting the Sierra snowpack, hot temperatures have increased the demand for energy generation.

The increased runoff, however, is also contributing to the collection of more sediment from the 2014 King Fire. PCWA staff has expedited several sediment removal projects along the Middle Fork Project, allowing turbines to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is expected hydropower plants will continue to run at maximum output through September.

In related news, the PCWA Board received the Draft 2018 Power Division Budget, which totals $34.9 million and is comprised of $22.3 million in operating expenses and $12.6 million in capital project appropriations. The Power Division Budget will be incorporated into the Middle Fork Project Finance Authority Budget later this year.

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