Posted in Business Lines   November 14, 2016

Business Lines November 2016

Support the Snake River Dams
For decades, the state of Washington has enjoyed some of the cheapest electric rates in the country. Why?  In a word, hydropower.
The Columbia and Snake River dams provide reliable, low cost and environmentally responsible electric energy to you - our customer.  The dams keep our lights on, significantly reduce our carbon footprint, power our businesses and economy, back up other renewables like wind and solar, support the Northwest’s power grid in times of energy emergencies, and put food on our tables and those around the world by supporting both irrigation and navigation.  They literally are economic and environmentally-friendly powerhouses.
In May, a U.S. District Court ruled that the river management plan for the Federal Columbia River Power System (the Biological Opinion) was inadequate and requested federal agencies to review the operations of the hydro system.  Moreover, the Court indicated that a proper analysis under federal law "may well require" considering breaching, bypassing or removing one or more of the four Lower Snake River dams.
The federal agencies - U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration – have scheduled 16 “scoping” meetings in the Northwest to hear from residents about dam operations, benefits, and dams’ impact on air, water, land and wildlife, including endangered salmon. The public input influences the scope of the agencies’ review of the hydro system, also called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
We encourage you to attend and voice your opinion on the dams.
Columbia River System Operations Review Meeting
Monday, November 21, 4 pm to 7 pm
Holiday Inn Express, Pasco WA
Comments may also be submitted online at or mail to CRSO EIS, P.O. Box 2870, Portland, OR 97208-2870 by January 17.
Below are some facts about the Columbia-Snake River Hydropower system. More information is available on our website or by calling Karen Miller at 509-582-1228.
Please forward this information on and let your voice be heard through this process.  
The tremendous value of Hydropower
Hydropower is the region’s largest source of carbon-free, renewable electricity
  • Nearly 60% of the energy produced in the Pacific Northwest is generated by the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
  • The majority (90%) of the Northwest’s renewable, carbon-free electricity is hydropower.
Hydropower backs up other renewables; wind/solar cannot replace hydro generation
  • Hydropower is a vital partner for other renewables to be integrated into the power grid.
  • Hydropower cannot be replaced by wind or solar power generators because they are intermittent resources and the technology doesn’t yet exist to store energy from them on a scale that is operationally significant and cost effective.
The federal hydro system helps fuel the region’s economy
  • The Columbia-Snake River System supports shipping more than 42 million tons of commercial cargo, valued at over $20 billion, every year.
  • Low-cost hydropower keeps traditional jobs in the Northwest, including those at Boeing, wood and chemical companies and aluminum manufacturers, and has helped attract newer employers such as Intel, Google, Facebook, Amazon and BMW.
Salmon and dams are co-existing and thriving
  • New salmon friendly technologies, such as fish slides, bypass systems, and fish-friendly turbines, have vastly improved survival of salmon through the dams.
  • Now, overall survival of young salmon through the hydro system is akin to that in free-flowing rivers with no dams, according to NOAA Fisheries. An average 97% of young salmon make it past each of the eight large federal dams, and on to the Pacific, according to BPA.
  • Salmon and steelhead returned in record or near record numbers over the last few years. The fall chinook salmon return to Bonneville Dam in 2015 was over 1.3 million fish, which is the largest number observed since the dam was built in 1938.
The Snake Dams keep millions of tons of carbon dioxide out of our skies annually
  • The four Snake River dams generate over 1,000 average megawatts of energy annually—enough for over 800,000 average U.S. homes—with no carbon emissions.
  • It would take three coal-fired or six gas-fired power plants to replace the power produced by the Snake Dams, according to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC).
  • Removing the Snake Dams would add 3 to 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to Northwest skies each year (NWPCC). That doesn't include the increased carbon emissions from the additional 43,610 railcars, or more than 167,000 semi-trucks, that would be needed to replace barges on the Lower Snake.
[Sources: Northwest RiverPartners, Bonneville Power Administration, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, NOAA Fisheries and the Energy Information Administration]