The Bureau of Reclamation this fall purchased 27 electric utility vehicles for use at the Grand Coulee Dam. The lithium-ion-battery-powered EUVs, built by e-ride Industries of Princeton, Minnesota, will help meet lower greenhouse gas emissions goals and also solve a chronic vehicle shortage for making short trips around the hydro power complex.
In the last couple of years, Grand Coulee has added about 130 employees. We’re trying to introduce these electric vehicles as a way to offset our current gas fleet vehicles. Grand Coulee spends over $100,000 on fossil fuel each year. We’re expecting to be able to cut that consumption by 10 to 15 percent.—Matt Tillman, Grand Coulee’s Administrative Officer
Grand Coulee, located in northeast Washington, is the nation’s largest hydropower complex that covers 18 square miles and includes transmission yards, four power plants, and the mile-wide dam itself.
It’s a large power complex and not very far from place to place, but there’s an awful lot of small trips, short trips that employees make each day. That’s hard on vehicles and a poor use of a fossil fuel powered car.—Deputy Power Manager Doug Anderson
The EUVs are designed to handle a 1000-pound payload and reach a top speed of 25 mph (i.e., Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) with plenty of torque to make it up steep grades around the power plant complex. The EXV4 Patriot is a four-passenger commuter vehicle designed for moving people; the EXV2 Patriot is a two passenger maintenance truck for moving tools and equipment. The EUVs are charged by power from the dam.
Grand Coulee Dam. Grand Coulee Dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world. The dam, which raises the water surface 350 feet above the old riverbed, is 5,223 feet long, 550 feet high, and contains about 12 million cubic yards of concrete.
The original dam was modified for the Third Powerplant by construction of a 1,170-foot-long, 201-foot-high forebay dam along the right abutment approximately parallel to the river and at an angle of 64 degrees to the axis of Grand Coulee Dam.
The total length of the main dam, forebay dam, and wing dam is 5,223 feet. The spillway of the dam is controlled by 11 drum gates, each 135 feet long, and is capable of spilling 1 million cubic feet of water per second with Lake Roosevelt at fullpool (1290.0 feet above sea level). The dam also contains forty 102-inch-diameter outlet tubes. Within the dam are 8.5 miles of inspection galleries and 2.5 miles of shafts.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir behind the dam, extends 151 miles northeast to the Canadian border and up the Spokane River, a tributary of the Columbia, to within 37 miles of Spokane. The total storage capacity of the reservoir is about 9.6 million acre-feet, and the active capacity is about 5.2 million acre-feet.
The average discharge at Grand Coulee over a period of years is approximately 100,000 cubic feet per second. On 12 June 1948, during an historic Columbia River flood period, the maximum discharge (turbine and spill) recorded was 637,800 cubic feet per second. The annual volume inflow has varied from a minimum of 48.5 million acre-feet to a maximum of 111.8 million acre-feet. The average annual inflow to Lake Roosevelt is 99.3 million acre-feet. The April through July inflow accounts for 65 to 70 percent of the total annual inflow volume.