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$44M revenue possible for Placer Water’s power project

Middle Fork’s water level, energy prices stable
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Placer County’s power-producing Middle Fork Project could bring in up to $44.4 million this year — about 10 percent more than initial projections.

The project — jointly owned by Placer County and Placer County Water Agency — consists of a string of reservoirs and power plants in the Sierra Nevada east of Foresthill holding water and producing hydroelectric power.

A mid-year update on Middle Fork Project’s hydropower generation in 2018 forecasts year-end generation at just over 1 million megawatt hours. That’s in line with projections made in October, Public Affairs Manager Ross Branch said.

Revenue forecasts from hydropower generation are also matching earlier projections, reflecting an average hydrologic year in 2018 and current prices in the energy market, he said.

Compared to 2017, which was not only the wettest year on record, but also experienced summer energy prices nearly double the average, energy prices for hydropower generation from the middle fork American River facilities this summer have remained fairly uniform and just above average, Branch said.

In related news, the agency received a draft 2019 power division budget, which totals $37.5 million and includes $25 million in operating expenses and $12.5 million in capital projects. Most of the capital projects funding will go toward upgrades to Middle Fork powerhouses.