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Boise River Diversion Powerplant

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Related Projects & Facilities
Boise River Diversion Dam
Boise Project
Related Documents
Boise River Diversion Powerplant Performance (pdf)
RegionFacilities in Pacific Northwest | Pacific Northwest Home Page
RiverBoise River
PurposeBoise River Diversion Dam and Powerplant is a multiple purpose structure that provides benefits to both irrigation and power. The plant supplies power to irrigation loads in the Boise, Owyhee, and Minidoka Projects as part of Reclamation`s Southern Idaho Power System. Surplus power is delivered to the BPA for marketing and distribution to regional industries and municipalities.
FactsThe Boise River Diversion Dam is a rubble concrete, weir-type structure with a hydraulic height of 39 feet. The dam was constructed in 1908 to divert water into the New York Canal, a 40-mile long canal which serves the Boise Valley. In 1912, the powerplant and a 17-mile transmission line was constructed to supply construction power for Arrowrock Dam. The original plant has three vertical generators each with a name plant capacity of 500 kW, with many unique engineering features of the era including double Francis turbines, wooden turbine bearings, and belt-driven auxiliary systems. The powerplant was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
FactsDue to the deteriorated condition of the equipment and high operating costs resulting from full-attended operation, the powerplant was placed in ready reserve status in 1982. The plant was reconstructed in 2002 to 2004 and returned to service in June, 2004.
HistoryAgricultural activity in the Boise and Payette River Valleys started in the early 1880s when settlers began filing on desert lands under private irrigation enterprises. By 1900, about 148,000 acres had been placed under irrigation. It quickly became evident that storage and distribution systems were needed for a dependable water source to serve the lands at high elevations. In response to petitions by local irrigators, the Boise Project was initiated by the Reclamation Service shortly after the passage of the first Reclamation Act of 1902
Present ActivitiesConstruction was completed in 2004 to replace the deteriorated powerplant equipment. The nameplate rating for the plant was increased from the original 1500 kW to 3300 kW. The existing double turbine configuration was retained, but refurbished with new materials and technology. New modern generators were installed inside the original generator housings. The lower level of the powerplant contains new switchgear, station service, battery, governor, excitation, and auxiliary equipment. Intake gates have been refurbished and modernized with electric operators and new trashracks.
Present ActivitiesSpecial care was taken to retain the historic qualities of the main generator floor. The original governors, slate control panels, transformers, overhead crane, and generator housings, although no longer functional, were retained for historic purposes.
Present ActivitiesAs part of the rebuilding effort, the plant was automated and is remotely controlled from the Black canyon Control Center.
Future Planned ActivitiesThe reconstruction of the power plant replaced all critical components. No major replacements or additions are currently planned.
Special IssuesBonneville Power Administration`s transmission facilities are limited in the region, resulting in the need to wheel power into the area over other utilities` systems. Points of interconnections are at capacity, which will increase future wheeling costs and limit future capacity. The power plant`s return to service contributes towards serving the federal load within Southern Idaho.
NERC RegionWestern Electricity Coordinating Council, Northwest Power Pool Area
PMA Service AreaBonneville Power Administration, Southern Idaho Power System
Plant TypeConventional
Powerhouse TypeAbove Ground
Turbine TypeFrancis
Original Nameplate Capacity1,500 kW
Installed Capacity3,450 kW
Year of Initial Operation1912
Age95 years
Net Generation9,673,000 kWh
(Fiscal Year)2007
Gross Head39 ft
Plant Factor33.3 percent
(Fiscal Year)2007
Production ModePeaking
Remotely OperatedYes
Project AuthorizationThe original Boise Project was authorized on March 27, 1905. The Arrowrock Dam was authorized on January 6, 1911.
Project PurposeThe Boise Project furnishes irrigation water to about 225,000 acres of project lands and 165,000 acres under special and Warren Act contracts. The irrigable lands are in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon.
First nameMichael
Last nameAnselme
Titlesupervisor Power Plant Maintenance
Phone (Fax)208 587-4078
Phone (Individual)208 587-4051

Last updated: May 07, 2012