Packwood Lake Hydroelectric Project
For more information:
P.O. Box 968
Richland, WA 99352-0968
The Packwood Lake Hydroelectric Project began operation in 1964. It was designed to produce electricity while protecting the natural environment of Packwood Lake. It is located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, approximately 20 miles south of Mount Rainier.
Power plant structures at the lake are limited to a small diversion and intake structure a short distance downstream from the outlet of Packwood Lake. A five-mile underground pipeline carries the water down the mountain to the powerhouse near the town of Packwood. A unique aspect of the facility is the 1,800-foot drop in elevation, which generates 780 psi of pressure at the turbine. The turbine generator is capable of generating up to 27.5 megawatts of electricity.
Since 1964, the project has been operated in harmony with the recreational features of the National Forest and the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area.
Public access to the recreational areas was greatly improved by the extension of the Forest Service road to a new parking lot at the 2,800' elevation. Originally, the parking lot was at the 1,400' elevation. The newer parking area includes a loading ramp for horses, space for 50 cars and five trailers, a turn-around area, and an excellent view of the valley and Mt. Rainier.
The project produces an average of 94 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Two revenue bond issues, for a total of $13.7 million, financed the project. This is repaid by power purchases from participating utilities. Currently, the project power is purchased by Benton and Franklin County PUDs. Historically, power from the project was delivered to the Bonneville Power Administration for use by the project’s participating utilities.
|Generating Capacity:||27.5 megawatts (net)|
|Construction and fifty year operating license issued:||July 1960|
|Construction contracts issued:||September 1961|
|Construction started:||Spring 1962|
|Plant testing and initial operation:||June 1964|