Carbon-free water power electrifies much of Snohomish County

With increased adoption of electric vehicles, and clean energy mandates, hydropower has never been more important.

  • Friday, May 7, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

By Snohomish County PUD

Wonderful water.

It makes up more than 70% of our planet. It provides us with life, whether we’re drinking it or watering our garden. It gives us a place to swim and play.

Water also powers our world. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, water, or hydropower, energizes our communities, generating enough energy to power 14 million households. Nearly half the homes in the Northwest, and more than 75% of homes and businesses in Snohomish County, are powered by hydroelectricity.

May is a great time to celebrate all the wonderful ways water makes our life amazing. The PUD is a proud national leader in carbon-free, renewable energy, thanks in large part to hydropower. Not only is hydropower clean and renewable, but due to the low operating costs of hydroelectricity plants, electricity bills in the Northwest are some of the lowest in the nation.

The PUD not only receives a lion’s share of its power from hydro projects along the Columbia River, but it also owns and operates a variety of low-impact hydroelectric projects right here in Western Washington.

The PUD’s largest hydropower generation system is the Jackson Hydroelectric Project. Located along the Sultan River downstream of Culmback Dam and Spada Lake Reservoir, the Jackson project produces enough electricity to power more than 50,000 local homes.

Over the past decade, the PUD has worked to improve environmental conditions for salmon and other fish in the Sultan River. We’ve worked to remove debris and man-made barriers blocking access to migrating fish, restored and enhanced side channel habitat for rearing salmonids and built a water-temperature conditioning structure to ensure water temperature in the river is optimal for fish.

The PUD also has invested in low-impact small hydroelectric projects in Monroe, Sultan and in the foothills above North Bend. These innovative run-of-the-river projects not only provide clean, renewable energy but also are built to have a minimal impact on stream flow rates, creek temperatures and oxygen levels.

With energy demands growing in our region, including increased adoption of electric vehicles and clean energy mandates, hydropower has never been more important.

Operating since 1949, Snohomish County PUD is a customer-owned, not-for-profit electric and water utility that serves more than 360,000 customers in Snohomish County and Camano Island. For more information on conservation programs, visit

Drinking Water Week

This past week was Drinking Water Week. The PUD provides safe and reliable drinking water to more than 22,000 homes and businesses in Snohomish County. Here are some tips for conserving water at home this summer:

• Plant native plants suitable for the Puget Sound climate. Native plans require less care and don’t require supplemental watering.

• Purchase an inexpensive hose timer to avoid over-watering. Soaker hoses are also a great option for avoiding evaporation.

• Make sure to repair leaks in fixtures, pipes and toilets immediately. A leaky faucet can waste gallons of water per day.

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