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Commentaries and editorials

Too Costly to Breach
Snake River Dams

by Frederick Fisher
Tri-City Herald, May 11, 2018

Lower Granite Dam impounds the Lower Snake River some forty miles up to the Idaho border. The power replacement study discussed recently in the guest editorial is well worth reading.

The report states that annualized costs for replacement would be from $380 million to $580 million, not including the cost of dam removal and silt migration remediation. The estimate also includes a $15 to $20 per megawatt hour tax credit, and as noted does not fully replace the LSR dam power output. Nor does it note that the dam average output of 1,000 megawatts can be tripled for a while by using the full capacity and pool drawdown.

The proposed replacement power production costs would be between 5 and 10 times the current production costs, plus the removal costs and associated potential increases to shipping casts.

If the proposed replacement resulted in a 1 million salmon increase (unlikely), the cost would be $400 to $800 per fish, per year. Is this the most cost effective way of improving salmon recovery?

Frederick Fisher, Richland
Too Costly to Breach Snake River Dams
Tri-City Herald, May 11, 2018

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