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Commentaries and editorials

Snake Dams Not Worth It

by Harvey Morrison
Spokesman Review, April 19, 2011

Lower Granite dam, the first dam encountered by Idaho's salmon and steelhead on their downstream migration as juveniles. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we have too much of one good thing - clean energy -- and too little of another - wild salmon. Springtime means high river flows and high winds, and thus lots of energy at a low price. Spring coincidentally is a key migration time for salmon heading to the ocean.

It turns out that the lower Snake River dams produce most of their energy when demand is low. As run-of-the-river dams, they can't store water for use in other seasons. They produce energy only when the water flows.

From summer to winter, these four dams contribute very little to our energy supply. This is one more reason to remove these low-value, high-cost dams. Dam removal is critical to protecting our endangered salmon. We can afford to take these dams off line and continue to encourage the development of clean, salmon-friendly, job-creating wind energy.

Related Pages:
PSE's Lower Snake River Wind Project to Boost Power Generation by Cameron Chai, Clean Tech, 4/15/11
Bonneville Power may Shut Down Wind Turbines to Protect Salmon by John Laumer, Treehugger, 4/14/11
Grid Problems Trigger Rolling Wind-Farm Outages in Pacific NW by William Pentland, Forbes, 4/14/11
Wind Turbines Shutdown Possible by David Mance, KAPP TV, 4/13/11
Wind-Power Producers Fight Possible Shutdown of Turbines by Hal Bernton, The Spokesman-Review, 4/10/11
Bonneville Power Plan Creates Buzz in Industry by Bert Caldwell, The Spokesman-Review, 4/10/11

Harvey Morrison, Spokane
Snake Dams Not Worth It
Spokesman Review, April 19, 2011

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