Six Mile road closed temporarily as hydroelectric project underway
STERLING — Thanks to a new project, Six Mile Canyon in Sterling is looking toward a greener future.
The road through Sterling Canyon has faced temporary closure due to a project that will install a pipeline through the canyon to supply hydroelectric energy. The project has been contracted by Alpha Engineering in St. George.
Project engineer Brent Gardner said the pipeline has the potential to supply roughly 4.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power about 400 homes in the six-county area. “It’s green energy,” Gardner says. “That’s the very best part!”
Gardner says that the pipeline is planned as a 30-inch pipeline spanning 12,000 feet in Sterling Canyon with about 600 feet of elevation difference. Water will divert through the pipeline at a rate of approximately 40 cubic feet per second. The pipeline will feed to a powerhouse with four turbines generating the power.
The project has been contemplated since 1987 through a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This year, FERC gave the project its final licensing, allowing it to move forward into production. “I don’t believe it’s common for a project to take that long to go through the system,” USDA Forest Ranger Kyle Beagley said.
Beagley said the project engineers plan to construct the pipeline down the middle of the canyon road, making it easier and less of an impact for the environment in the canyon. The role of the Ephraim Forest Service is to ensure that the project meets governmental mandates. One of those mandates from the FERC insists that there remain a minimum standard water flow in the streams where water is diverting to the pipeline.
Alpha Engineering plans to supply the power to the Manti City substation, where it is sold to the Utah Municipal Power Agency. A power line runs from the powerhouse to the substation.
It has not been announced when the canyon road will reopen.