the film
Commentaries and editorials

Time To Do
the Right Thing

by Linwood Laughy
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, March 31, 2022

Graphic: for the baseline conditions studies the prices were simulated on an hourly basis for every day in each year from 2021 through 2041. (NW Power Council's 2021 Power Plan modeling results) If the lower Snake River dams were breached, how could the Pacific Northwest replace the lost power?

In its 2021 Northwest Power Plan, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council identifies sources of electricity beyond the supply needed to meet Pacific Northwest load demand. Energy efficiency refers to electricity savings through more efficient appliances, furnaces, etc., often incentivized by power suppliers. Additional energy efficiency could provide savings up to 3,000 megawatts, the equivalent annual output of 12.6 lower Snake River dams.

Demand response refers to electricity users voluntarily (with $ incentives) reducing their power use during times of system stress. The 2021 Power Plan notes that an expanded demand response strategy could save another 3,580 megawatts, equal to 15 more lower Snake River dams.

Despite the retirement of several coal plants that provide power to the Pacific Northwest, Bonneville Power Administration predicts a regional power surplus each year over the next decade. The administration also consistently underestimates its hydropower supply by basing each year's projections on the lowest water level in the past 80 years (1936/1937).

The 2021 Power Plan states that by 2026, due to growing power surpluses across the entire West, the wholesale price of power will fall to $12-$17 per megawatt hour. BPA's current wholesale price is just under $35/megawatt hour.

The bottom line: the 2021 Northwest Power Plan identifies available energy savings which could replace the power output of 27 lower Snake River dams.

A quotation sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill sums up the situation with respect to the dams and salmon. "You can always trust Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else."

We have tried everything else. It's time to do the right thing.

Linwood Laughy, Moscow
Time To Do the Right Thing
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, March 31, 2022

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