The generator in Albany’s Vine Street powerhouse has been quiet this fall, a period when normally it would have been running. But it may start up again in a matter of days and once again earning money from electricity sales.
Albany officials think there’s a way to keep operating the city’s electric generator while cutting back on regulatory expenses. Let’s hope they are right and Albany’s historic role in hydropower production can be continued and preserved.
The water you see rushing down the end of the Albany Santiam Canal on Friday is not, obviously, going through the turbine of Albany Hydro. The hydropower generator has been shut down since June, which is normal, but its restart this fall has been delayed.
Albany’s small hydropower plant, restored in 2009 at a cost of about $2.2 million, was never going to justify the investment in terms of money. Now, rising costs due to more federal regulation are causing the city staff to consider shutting the operation down.
Last year and this, sad to say, have not been money makers for Albany Hydro. The generator had to be shut down much of the time, but it started spinning again this month. And the outlook for next year depends on whether we get a reasonable amount of mountain snow.