October 1, 2012
Idaho Power Gets New License for Swan Fallls
BOISE, Idaho – Idaho Power has been granted a 30-year federal license to continue operating its Swan Falls power plant, located on the Snake River about 40 miles south of Boise, Idaho.
Swan Falls was the first hydroelectric dam on the Snake River. It was built in 1901 to supply power to nearby mines, and became Idaho Power’s original generation resource when the company was formed in 1916.
“This is an important milestone for our company, both symbolically and practically, as we look forward to our second century of providing clean, reliable, low-cost power from our fleet of hydroelectric facilities,” said Senior Vice President of Power Supply Lisa Grow.
There were 10 generators rated at 10,400 kilowatts which were decommissioned in 1994 along with the old powerhouse, which is now a historic display. A new powerhouse with two generating units was completed in 1994 increasing the project’s nameplate generating capacity to 27,170 kilowatts – enough for nearly 19,000 average-sized homes.
The license itself states: “issuance … will serve to maintain a beneficial, dependable, and an inexpensive source of electric energy; the required environmental measures will protect and enhance fish and wildlife resources, water quality, recreational resources, and historic properties; and the 25 MW of electric capacity comes from a renewable [clean] resource that does not contribute to atmospheric pollution.”
As part of its license to operate Swan Falls, Idaho Power is required to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, cultural resources and recreational facilities both at the plant itself, and downstream.
Those requirements include protection of the endangered Snake River physa snail and white sturgeon. Idaho Power has been actively working to protect these species prior to being granted a license.
Along the shoreline, Idaho Power will make a number of improvements aimed at enhancing recreational opportunities while minimizing the impact on protected plants and wildlife. In consultation with numerous stakeholders, Idaho Power has developed a Recreation Management Plan that includes:
• Improvements to Swan Falls Park, including a new dock, picnic tables and shelter, and shoreline stabilization measures;
• Upgrading the Swan Falls reservoir boat ramp, adding a vault toilet and improved parking;
• Making similar improvements to the downstream boat launch;
• Installing signage at the canoe portage;
• Improving and maintaining six existing dispersed recreation sites, and closing and restoring nine others.
The license application was submitted four years ago by Idaho Power.
About Idaho Power Company:
Idaho Power began operations in 1916. Today, the electric utility employs approximately 2,000 people who serve nearly 500,000 customers throughout a 24,000-square-mile area in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects as the core of its generation portfolio, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest rates for electricity. IDACORP, Inc. (NYSE: IDA) is the investor-owned utility’s parent company based in Boise, Idaho. To learn more, visit www.idahopower.com or www.idacorpinc.com.
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