Snake River dams vital to state’s clean energy goals

Timing is everything. On the very day a recent commentary (“Our grid can save salmon and a green energy future,” The Herald, July 25) claimed we can replace electricity from the Snake River dams with zero-emission sources, 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.

Replacing reliable hydropower with wind power that disappears when it is needed is not a sustainable strategy.

Switching from hydro to wind will increase costs, the risk of blackouts, and carbon dioxide emissions. Who says so? The very 2018 study (paid for by a group pushing to destroy the dams) the authors cite.

To lower projected costs, the study replaces only part of the dams’ output, which is why most studies put the cost to replace electricity much higher. Replacing only part of the energy also increases the risk of future blackouts. Study authors also admit that destroying the dams would increase carbon emissions because some replacement energy would come from fossil fuels.

As we electrify our economy, including more electric cars and home heating and cooling, destroying the Snake River dams would be bad for our economy and the environment.

Todd Myers

Washington Policy Center

Seattle

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