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Commentaries and editorials

Counting the Costs on
Hydroelectric Dam Removals

by John Hess
The Chronicle, September 21, 2022

Progressives seem to believe the world runs on rainbows and unicorn poop.

Lower Granite Dam in SE Washington state impounds the Lower Snake forty miles up beyond the Idaho border. As American citizens, we depend on knowledge to keep us free. For knowledge, we depend on national television newscasts, internet blog sites and local newspapers. I am hoping to improve the quality of local news reporting by commenting on local news articles.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, The Seattle Times published an article titled "Inslee, Murray Say Snake River Dam Proposal Possible, But Not Yet." The article stated how state officials had agreed that removal of the Snake River hydroelectric dams was not feasible at this time. I think that is the correct decision but leaves out all justification for it.

Question: The hydroelectric dams on the Snake River have a combined capacity of 3,100 megawatts of generating capacity. To remove these dams and still provide sufficient electrical power, what would be required?

A standard rooftop solar panel at Home Depot is rated to generate about 350 watts per hour in direct sunlight. This type of sunlight is available about six hours a day in Eastern Washington, where it isn't always cloudy.

It would take almost 9 million rooftop solar panels to replace the rated capacity of the Snake River dams. Additionally, that power would only cover six hours per day on average. A very large (2,000 megawatts) coal or natural gas fired plant would also be needed to provide power after sundown or in clouded over days.

Question: Electric power in Northern California is billed at 42 to 48 cents per kilowatt hour. In Washington, we pay 8 to 15 cents per kilowatt hour. Can the people of the state afford a green energy solution that would increase the cost of their monthly energy bill by a factor of between three and six times?

No one asked me, but I would not favor seeing my utility bill rise from $280 a month to as much as $1,680 a month.

The article was written by Nicolas Turner, The Seattle Times climate reporter. Turner didn't appear to ask questions. I recommend you call the editor of The Seattle Times and ask for a followup article that will provide more facts on if it is possible to replace the hydroelectric dams. I am available to answer questions if Turner would like to contact me.

Progressives seem to believe the world runs on rainbows and unicorn poop. We need representatives who will count the costs before proceeding with plans to change the future.

John Hess Centralia
Counting the Costs on Hydroelectric Dam Removals
The Chronicle, September 21, 2022

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