The Odessa Record -

By John Francisco
Inland Power and Light 


Solution for dams is common sense


August 3, 2017

There’s good news for the Pacific Northwest and the federal hydro system that powers it. Inland Power supports our legislators in their effort to save the dams and protect our natural, renewable and affordable energy source.

Key members of our Congressional delegation have stepped up to declare the value of our dams that provide affordable, renewable hydropower, flood control, navigable waters for agriculture and recreation to our economy and way of life. They’re asserting their rightful authority over the eight federal dams that serve families and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Greg Walden (R-OR) introduced a bipartisan proposal, H.R. 3144, that would maintain current salmon protection measures and federal hydro system operations agreed to by all parties in the 2014 Biological Opinion (BiOp), until a court-ordered review of alternatives is complete. This proposal was submitted in response to a court ruling to potentially spill tremendous amounts of additional water over the dams, around the clock, instead of generating energy.

This lost hydropower would have a substantial impact to Inland Power members and the Pacific Northwest as the power generated by these dams would need to be replaced with other energy sources at a higher cost and likely generated by fossil fuels. This additional cost is passed on to Inland members and ratepayers throughout the region who benefit from this clean, carbon free renewable energy. Our best estimate of the impact of the additional spill is a 2% increase in our wholesale costs or an approximate 1% rate impact on individual electric bills.

The federal hydro system allows Inland Power to provide its members with affordable and reliable electric power that is over 88% renewable hydropower and 97% carbon free.

Our elected officials are showing vital leadership with a proposal supported on both sides of the aisle. Their bill protects salmon with measures vetted by the Obama Administration’s top scientists, and at the same time, protects the hydro system that powers our economy and supplies most of our energy mix.

John Francisco is chief of energy resources at Inland Power and Light which serves primarily rural areas in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Inland Power provides its members with affordable and reliable electric power that is over 88% renewable hydropower and 97% carbon free.


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