the film
Commentaries and editorials

Clean Energy a Better Fit

by Carrie Herrman
Spokesman-Review, March 24, 2021

We have an opportunity to develop new energy resources that are a better fit for the region's needs

Map showing location of 4 lower Snake River dams and reservoirs being considered for removal In a recently published op-ed by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Russ Fulcher on the Columbia Snake River System's future (“Breaching LSR dams would make no fiscal sense,” March 7), the authors state that there are not enough clean energy resources available to replace the power from the Lower Snake River dams. This is simply untrue.

Hydroelectricity is a valuable resource, and the four Lower Snake River dams have a seasonal energy profile and their generation varies with river flows. We have an opportunity to develop new energy resources that are a better fit for the region's needs, and we can build up that portfolio to improve reliability. There are thousands of megawatts of readily available clean energy resources, including wind, solar, and demand-side measures to replace the dams' power. Utilities across the region are building and acquiring these resources today. And technological innovation and market systems are growing to provide more reliable service to our communities.

Since the NW Energy Coalition's 2018 Lower Snake River Dams Power Replacement Study, the cost of new clean energy resources has dropped. Now there are new resources with exciting potential, like electric vehicle management, pumped storage, and renewable hydrogen for long-term storage.

It is critical to remember that this transition is not happening overnight. With thoughtful planning and modernizing our grid, we can replace the energy services these dams provide and create a more reliable system, even in the face of winter storms and summer heatwaves.

Carrie Herrman, Spokane
Clean Energy a Better Fit
Spokesman-Review, March 24, 2021

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation