the film
Commentaries and editorials

We Don't Need to Rely
on Hydroelectric Dams

by Reed Burkholder
Idaho Statesman, May 30, 2009

We have renewable technologies better than hydropower dams. Wind is one of these technologies. Drive on Interstate 84 from Bliss to Portland. You will see hundreds of wind turbines, often in farmers' fields where the crops are still being grown. There are now more than 2,000 of these in the Northwest; many more are planned.

Rooftop solar is another of these technologies. What do J.C. Penney, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, and Del Monte Foods have in common? They all employ photovoltaic panels on their business rooftops. Three decades ago, PV panels cost $99 per watt. Now, some companies - for example, First Solar of Tempe, Ariz. - are manufacturing them for less than $1 per watt. The solar industry expects that solar power will be cheaper than much of our country's grid power in less than a decade.

There is little reason to tolerate river-killing, treaty-breaking, salmon-endangering hydropower dams downstream of Lewiston when more benign technologies are booming all around us.

Let's proceed with plans to remove the four lower Snake River dams.

Reed Burkholder, Boise
We Don't Need to Rely on Hydroelectric Dams
Idaho Statesman, May 30, 2009

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