Thursday, June 20, 2024

Project judged cost prohibitive

Okanogan PUD abandons plan to reenergize Enloe Dam

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OKANOGAN – The county PUD Board of Commissioners has decided to pursue options other than reenergize Enloe Dam, four miles west-northwest of Oroville on the Similkameen River, after a $70.4 million estimate to electrify the structure came in at more than twice the initial figure.

The Board arrived at the decision at its regular monthly meeting last Monday, Nov. 9, after being informed earlier in the month by the Spokane firm Max J.

Kuney of the project cost to electrify the dam under the design-build contract.

In arriving at its decision, the Board also noted that the $70.4 million estimate does not factor in taxes and District costs that would increase the total figure to $87.4 million.

The PUD began investigating Enloe reenergization in 2005 and proceeded through various steps of the reevaluation, including licensing and litigation, over the past 13 years.

A PUD media release noted that Enloe’s estimated megawatt hour (mwh) is $150. Comparative costs show that Nine Canyon Wind projects are $69 per mwh, Bonneville Power Administration, $33 per mwh, and Wells Dam, $12 per mwh.

“At the direction of the Board, District staff will now investigate the future of Enloe Dam, keeping safety and cost considerations at the forefront,” wrote PUD Community Relations Coordinator Sheila Corson. “The Board granted staff 120 days to explore the legal, political, environmental, and financial issues related to the site.”

Enloe Dam was first built as a wooden crib dam in 1906 and rebuilt as a concrete structure in the 1920s at a cost of $125,000. It operated until cheaper power became available in 1959 and rendered continued operations of the dam economically unfeasible.

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