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Thanks To Turbines Installed In City Water Pipes, Portland Now Generates Green Energy

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When ‘Portland’ comes to mind, I think of organic, shopping locally, Fred Armisen and green energy.

So it come as a surprise to many when it was announced that the just recently partnered with Lucid Energy – a company that generates clean electricity from city water pipes.

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Oregon’s largest city has recently shared how they have replaced a section of its existing water supply network with Lucid Energy pipes — which contain four, forty-two-inch turbines.

How does it work exactly?

As the water flows through the pipes – the Lucid Energy turbines spin and power the attached generators. Those generators then feed energy back into the city’s electrical grid.

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Portland’s new clean energy source-project is titled as the “Conduit 3 Hydroelectric Project,” which is scheduled to be in full swing in March.

This will be the “first project in the U.S. to secure a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline.” according to a Lucid Energy FAQ on the partnership.

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What makes the energy system even more unique is how the Lucid Energy system is not affected by any external conditions i.e. the weather. This is unlike other renewable energy sources such as solar and window power sources.

In order for the new power generators to become both cost and energy efficient, Fast Company shared that the generators must be installed in pipes where water flows downhill. This is to eliminate the need for the water having to be pumped as the energy needed to move said water would take away from any energy being created.

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The system can also monitor both the overall status of the city’s water supply network as well as measure the drinking quality of the water flowing through it.



The partnership between the company and the city of Portland is continuing to wrap up its “commissioning” phase — in which the system is put through final-stage testing.

After the system is deemed fully operational, over the next twenty years – the installation is expected to generate $2,000,000 worth of renewable energy. This is based on “an average of 1,100-megawatt hours of energy per year, enough electricity to power up to 150 homes.”

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The money that will be generated by the system is said to be split among the project’s investors.

It will also be used to recoup constructions costs as well as any ongoing upkeep of the system.

And after 20 years, the Portland Water Bureau will be able to have the right to own the entire project – including the energy and profit generated by it.

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Portland just got a little more, well – Portland.

All that’s missing?

A bit about how the mayor of Portland wants to make the pipe-turbines a tourist attraction — complete with Fred and Carrie’s enthusiastic ideas, theme songs and zingers.

Lorne Michaels, if you’re reading this: you’re welcome.

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