Snake dams’ contributions were overstated in letter

A recent letter to the editor regarding the Snake River dams, stated that on July 25, “Washington saw its highest temperatures of the year with virtually no wind power across the region. Peak output for all the wind turbines in the Northwest was less than half that of just one dam.”

A single sweltering day accompanied by little wind was used to misleadingly argue for keeping dams on the lower Snake River intact. On days with diminished winds, electricity is drawn from the interstate power grid. Balancing supply and demand is managed by grid infrastructure for all sources of power.

The reality of imbalance of supply and demand is most apparent with electric power supplied from the Snake River dams. In addition to the relatively meager amounts of electricity produced in relation to Washington state’s power needs, the dams produce the bulk of their electric output during high water flow seasons when the power is least needed. When Washington needs electricity, the dams are idle when it comes to generating electricity but continue to do their environmental destruction.

High-cost power (in terms of dollars and the environment) for untimely availability of electricity is a cost that taxpayers and rate payers should no longer be saddled with. It’s time to breach the dams.

Malcolm Cumming

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