Vine Street Hydroelectric Project, Albany, Oregon

Vine Street Hydroelectric Project, Albany, Oregon

The project is located on the South Santiam River (River Mile 20.8) and the Santiam-Albany canal (18 miles long), with an outlet on the Calapooia River. The Santiam and Calapooia River subbasins are located within the greater Williamette River Basin. The Santiam River subbasin drains an area of 1,827 square miles, and the Calapooia River subbasin drains an area of about 374 square miles.

Project Name Vine Street
LIHI Certificate Number 84
LIHI Effective and Expiration Dates May 4, 2014
May 4, 2019
Owner City of Albany, Oregon
State Oregon
Location Located on the South Santiam River, Albany-Santiam canal, and Calapooia River in the cities of Lebanon and Albany, Linn County, Oregon.
Installed Capacity 0. 5 MW
Average Annual Generation 1,500 MWH
Facility Type diversion, run of river
FERC No. 11509

The main waterway within the Santiam River subbasin is the Santiam River which branches at river mile to 11.7 to form the North and South Santiam Rivers. The upper South Santiam River receives snowmelt from the Cascade Mountains while the middle and lower South Santiam River receives subsurface flow from forested lowlands. The North Santiam River drains forested areas in the Cascade Mountains.

The Calapooia River subbasin stretches 75 miles from its headwaters to the mouth of the Calapooia River. It is directly south of the Santiam River subbasin. The main waterway within the Calapooia River subbasin is the Calapooia River. The upper subbasin drains forested areas in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains while the middle and lower portions drain agricultural lands.

The Albany-Santiam Canal carries diverted water from the South Santiam River at the Lebanon diversion dam to the Calapooia River at the City of Albany, a distance of about 18 miles. The reach of the South Santiam and Santiam River bypassed by the Albany-Santiam canal extends about 35 miles to the Williamette River.

Before 2006 the project consisted of:

  • Lebanon dam, a 450-long, 6-foot high concrete gravity weir section dam with 2 feet of flashboards
  • The Albany-Santiam canal, an 18-mile long, 20-foot wide, trapezoidal channel with a capacity of about 220 cubic feet per second (cfs)
  • An unscreened canal inlet and headgate
  • Four fishways
  • Two concrete penstock intakes with trashracks, wood plan covers, and manual slide gates
  • Two 6-foot diameter, 50-foot long steel penstocks
  • A power house containing two Francis turbines and Woodward governors, two 500-kW synchronous generators, and an open-bus manual electrical switchgear system
  • A 2.4-kV, 360-foot long transmission line connecting the powerhouse to an existing Pacific Power and Light substation.

Between 2006 to present, the City made improvements to the canal, including the following:

  • Dredged portions of the Albany-Santiam canal to increase the hydraulic capacity of the canal
  • Installed automatically controlled slide gates at the existing headworks flow control structure to provide accurate flow control into the Canal
  • Improved fish passage at four poorly performing fish ladders on the existing 6-foot high concrete diversion dam on the South Santiam River. Three of the ladders were removed entirely and replaced with an efficient, high-volume pool-and-chute ladder. One of the existing ladders was substantially upgraded with new weirs and additional attraction water
  • Added a vee-shaped fish screen to the entrance of the Canal to prevent migratory fish from straying into the canal and getting lost. Previously the Canal entrance was unscreened
  • Article 404 and 416 flow compliance plans have been adopted by the resource agencies
  • Standard Operating Procedures have been established
  • On-going maintenance and repair of the entire canal and facilities

In December of 2006, the City upgraded the hydropower facility, which involved replacing one of two historic turbine-generators with a similarly-sized 500-kilowatt power unit built in China. As part of 2006 modifications, the dam was lowered by 1.5 inches. Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) control systems and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) monitoring were also provided. The second turbine-generator remains in place as a historical artifact, along with old switchgear, power meters, dials and gauges. The new equipment started producing some power in October 2008. Since then, the generator has been in full commercial operation.

The project operates between October and June except when South Santiam river flows are too low to divert water into the Canal for hydropower purposes, as required by the FERC License. During the summer months the South Santiam River does not provide adequate flow for the project to operate. The system can utilize a 190-cfs of flow and approximately 36-feet of hydraulic head, available at the end of the 18-mile Canal. This water has for years plunged into the Calapooia River at this location. Now instead, it is routed through the new turbine for power generation. The turbine’s discharge draft tube is only about 200-feet away from the former Canal discharge, while generating up to 500-kW of power.



Certification Benefits

The clean energy benefit of the Vine Street facility is the generation of approximately 2.8 million kWhr of electricity per year.  Using current U.S. EPA data for typical household electricity demand, that annual generation is enough to supply electricity to 244 homes. In addition to those energy benefits, the Vine Street facility provides the following ecological benefits to local rivers: maintenance of minimum flows to protect fish habitat downstream of its diversion points, water quality monitoring and participation in TMDL planning to protect and restore water quality, and annual compliance reports on the operation of fish screens and fishways around the facility.  The applicable state and federal resource management agencies have confirmed that the Vine Street facility continues to be in compliance with all regulatory requirements.  Review of the recertification application confirms that the project satisfies all LIHI criteria.

Diversion Dam - Fish Ladder LB-1-resize (1)


Certification History

August 20, 2014: The Vine Street Hydroelectric Project has been re-certified as low impact for continuing to meet the requirements of the LIHI Certification Program. The decision is for a five-year term, effective May 4, 2014 and expiring May 4, 2019.

June 17, 2014: Public comment period on application for recertification has been closed.

April 17, 2014: The City of Albany, Oregon, has submitted an application for a second term of Low Impact Certification for the Vine Street Hydroelectric Project. The current term is scheduled to expire on May 4, 2014. The public comment period will remain open for 60 days.

February 23, 2012: The Vine Street Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective May 4, 2009 and expiring May 4, 2014.

May 4, 2009: The City of Albany, Oregon has submitted an application for the certification of the Vine Street Hydroelectric Project. Public comment period on the application will remain open for 60 days.