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DWR takes Lake Oroville power plant offline

  • Aug 6, 2021 8:20 am GMT

Aug. 6—The Department of Water Resources announced Thursday that it has taken the Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville offline due to falling lake levels, according to a DWR news release.

"This is the first time Hyatt Powerplant has gone offline as a result of low lake levels," DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a statement. "However, DWR anticipated this moment, and the state has planned for its loss in both water and grid management."

Nemeth said the power plant going offline is one of many "unprecedented impacts" of the climate-induced drought in California. DWR has been in communication with the California Independent Service Operator (CAISO) and the California Energy Commission and steps have been taken in anticipation of the loss of power generation, according to the release.

"DWR will continue to focus on reservoir operations and water storage management at Lake Oroville to preserve as much water in storage as possible," Nemeth said. "DWR will use the River Valve Outlet System to release some water from the base of Oroville Dam to maintain river temperature requirements and outflows to the Feather River."

The department delivers 5 percent of requested water supplies to State Water Project contractors who in turn provide water for agriculture and urban use. Deliveries are being met almost entirely from storage at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County and have little impact on the amount of water being stored or released from Lake Oroville, according to the release.

"Falling reservoir levels are another example of why it is so critical that all Californians conserve water," Nemeth said. "We are calling on everyone to take action now to reduce water use by 15 percent, to preserve as much water supply in storage as possible should we experience another dry year."

California Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said government mismanagement was to blame for what has happened to Lake Oroville and the Hyatt Powerplant.

"Lake Oroville was full two years ago," Gallagher said in a news release. "Yes, there's been a drought, but reservoirs are meant to hold water for dry years. What has happened at this lake is nothing short of government mismanagement and misplaced priorities."

Gallagher said Gov. Gavin Newsom could have prevented the measures taken on Thursday.

"Governor Newsom just wants to throw up his hands and say, 'nothing we can do, it's climate change,'" said Gallagher. "But Californians should reject the governor's cop outs and excuses. Draining the lake to a historic low was preventable. And the forced shutdown of Hyatt Powerplant was preventable."


(c)2021 the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.)

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