All the power we provide comes from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
BPA is a nonprofit federal power marketing administration based in the North-west. They serve 142 customers, including us and 53 other cooperatives, at cost. With 21 federal hydroelectric dams, BPA generates enough power for 13.5 mil-lion people. This is quite an amazing feat when you think about it – and it happens with the flip of a switch!
Even with 85 percent of our power being carbon neutral and renewable hydro power, costs continue to rise. Maintaining aging systems and inflation push costs higher. We are also seeing increased fish and wildlife costs, which already make up about one-third of the cost of wholesale power.
There is more to the story: While many people view hydropower in a positive light, some don’t. In the past year, you have probably heard of the attempt to remove the four lower Snake River dams. While that continues to be reviewed, it could present problems in the future for not only BPA customers, but anyone who utilizes or enjoys the rivers and lakes in our area for work or play. It would take two nuclear, three coal-fired, or six gas-fired power plants to replace the average annual power produced by the four Snake River dams.
Discussions about the future of hydropower in our region will take place over the next several years and it’s important that you as members of our community and cooperative know what’s happening. I encourage you to learn about the benefits of hydropower and just how fortunate we are to live here.
If you would like more information give me a call at 983-1610 or you can check out BPA’s new hydro flows here campaign at WWW.BPA.GOV/HYDROFLOWSHERE.