New Hydroelectric Project on hold at Black Canyon Diversion Dam

Boise Project, Payette Division. Black Canyon Dam. Aerial of Black Canyon Dam with a 98% full reservoir taken around 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose Park is just downstream of the dam. 5/5/2015 BOR Photo by Kirsten Strough

Plans to construct a new third hydroelectric powerplant at Black Canyon Diversion Dam have been placed on hold due to a new business case analysis that shows construction costs are greater than the benefits of additional power generation.

“Early indications were this was a financially feasible project that would boost power generation by upgrading an existing Reclamation facility,” David Denton, Project Manager said. “But using current energy prices, it’s apparent that the project should be placed on hold until energy prices rebound.”

Although the third hydroelectric unit project is on hold, some construction will still take place at the facility over the next few years. Reclamation plans to move forward with the design and relocation of a new power switchyard and upgrades to control systems at the dam.

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“The switchyard and control systems are a top priority because they pose a clear safety risk to employees and facility equipment,” Roland Springer, Snake River Area Office Manager said.

Black Canyon Diversion Dam is a multipurpose facility that provides water for irrigation, hydropower, and recreation. It was constructed by Reclamation in 1924 as part of the Payette Division of the Boise Project.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at

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