COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — For more than 60 years the Dorena Lake Dam has controlled flood waters and provided recreation.
Now after more than a decade to get final approval to retrofit the dam, in the company of Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio, crews finally broke ground on the hydroelectric facility.
Riverbank Power is retrofitting the 1940s dam to provide power to about 1,200 homes in Oregon.
Some members of Oregon’s congressional delegation say the project is a great way to provide clean, renewable energy.
“In a well thought-out process like this, you can have power that’s affordable, help consumers, businesses, and at the same time not sacrifice our land air and water our wonderful fish,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).
“We want to deal with climate change. We want to reduce our carbon footprint. We need more renewable electricity, and in this case we can do that and improve fisheries,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon).
Wyden says he plans to streamline the approval process to make projects like this one happen faster in other places.
DeFazio says among the many collaborations to make the project safe and healthy for fish and the environment, Oregon Fish and Wildlife and local advocates have been heavily involved.
The hydroelectric facility will be fully operating and pumping out power to local residents sometime next year.