Wells Dam is located at river mile 515.6 on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

This location is approximately 30 river miles downstream from Chief Joseph Dam which is owned and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the 42 miles upstream from Rocky Reach Dam owned and operated by Chelan County PUD.

The nearest town is Pateros, Washington, which is located approximately 8 miles upstream from Wells Dam.

The Wells Project is the primary generating resource for Douglas PUD. It includes ten generating units with an installed nameplate capacity of 774,300 kW (774.3 MW) and a peaking capacity of approximately 840 MW.

The design of the Wells Project is unique in that the generating units, spillways, switchyard and fish passage facilities are combined into a single structure referred to as the hydrocombine.


Construction of the project began in the fall of 1963 and commercial operation began on September 1, 1967. The initial design and license for the project called for the construction of seven turbine generating units.

On February 2, 1965, the Federal Power Commission (predecessor to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC) approved an application to amend the original license to include three additional generating units. The three additional units began commercial operation on January 24, 1969.

In 1963, Douglas PUD entered into at cost power sales contracts with four purchasers to sell 62% of the output from the Wells Project through August 31, 2018.

These purchasers are:

  • Puget Sound Energy, Inc. (31.3%)
  • Portland General Electric Company (20.3%)
  • PacifiCorp (6.9%)
  • Avista Corporation (3.5%)

Douglas PUD also entered into a power sales contract with Okanogan PUD in 1963 to sell up to 8% of Wells Project output share from Douglas PUD’s share through August 31, 2018.

Additionally, Douglas PUD entered into a Settlement Agreement and a Power Sales Contract with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation on November 1, 2004 which FERC approved on February 11, 2005. Based on the terms of the Power Sales Contract, the tribe is entitled to purchase 4.5% of the Wells Project output through August 31, 2018 and 5.5% of the Wells Project output beginning September 1, 2018. The 4.5% of Wells Project output through August 31, 2018 proportionally reduces power available to the four power purchasers, Douglas PUD and Okanogan PUD.