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Hillsboro In-Pipe Hydroelectric Project completed in Oregon

The City of Hillsboro, Energy Trust of Oregon, Portland General Electric (PGE) and InPipe Energy jointly announced the completion of the Hillsboro In-Pipe Hydroelectric Project – the first renewable energy project featuring the In-PRV system.

In-PRV is a smart water and micro-hydro system that generates electricity by harvesting excess pressure from a city water pipeline, according to a press release. The In-PRV bypasses an existing pressure control valve, instead converting the pressure into electricity that is fed to the grid.

This new technology will generate from 185,000 to 200,000 kWh or more of electricity per year that will help power the lighting, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and concessions at Hillsboro’s Gordon Faber Recreation Complex. It will provide pressure management that helps save water and extend the life of the pipeline while reducing more than 162,000 pounds of carbon annually.

“As a growing city, we’re excited to pioneer this very practical new form of renewable energy that will help us continue to meet our climate action goals and build resilience,” said Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway.

“The City of Hillsboro’s innovative new project is a great example of how we can support on-demand, cost-effective renewable energy generation right here in our community,” said Maria Pope, president and chief executive officer of Portland General Electric. “From the In-Pipe Hydroelectric Project to sourcing their power from 100% clean wind, Hillsboro is a leader in sustainability. Thanks to PGE’s Green Future customers’ support for local renewable energy projects, we were able to help fund this work, along with Energy Trust and InPipe Energy. Only by working together will we build a clean energy future.”

Water agencies use control valves to manage pressure in their water pipelines, helping to protect the pipeline from leaks and deliver water to customers at a safe pressure. InPipe Energy’s In-PRV pressure recovery system performs like a precise control valve but takes the process one step further by turning the excess pressure — that would be otherwise wasted — into a new source of carbon-free electricity.

“Distributed energy resources are a critical component in meeting the state’s carbon goals, and this is a great addition to the renewable energy options available to cities, reducing both carbon and energy costs,” said Eric Hielema, engineering manager for the City of Hillsboro Water Department.