Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

KRCD looks at small hydro project on Kings River

The Kings River Conservation District wants to study a project to install a small hydroelectric unit on the Kings River near Sanger — creating electricity by using the river’s flow at Gould Weir.

It’s part of California’s push to have 33% of its energy portfolio in renewable technologies, such as solar, wind and hydro, by 2020.

Though such small hydro is an established technology, this project wouldn’t happen anytime soon. The district has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a permit to study it. The study would probably take three years.

The main question: Could this project produce enough electricity to make it work financially for the district?

“The river doesn’t run all year round,” said district general manager Dave Orth.

He said the district is the leading resource agency in the region, making it the logical choice to study the project’s feasibility and development in an environmentally appropriate manner.

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