Changing Your Risk Profle with Vegetable Oil
Avista is partnering with Washington State University and American
Governor Company to develop an environmentally biodegradable
hydraulic fuid alternative for use in its hydro facilities.
By Steve Wenke
Avista Utilities is an investor-owned utility based in Spokane, Wash., U.S., that has a total company-owned
generating capacity of 1,862 MW, which
includes 1,029 MW of hydropower, as well
as natural gas, coal, biomass and wind. In
2009, we experienced a small uncontrolled
oil release at one of our hydroelectric plants.
Ice sliding down the face of the dam impinged
on a transformer, causing some insulating oil
to leak into a nearby waterway.
Any utility that has experienced such an
unforeseen incident knows that the aftermath
— whether it’s the actual cleanup process
or the stakeholder communication — is a
difficult period. First and foremost, the
environmental impact considerations are
paramount. Containing the spill and cleaning
Biodegradability testing of the bio-hydraulic
fluid being developed took place at WSU’s
Applied Sciences Laboratory.