On the Snake River, the Dams’ Natural Allies Seem to Have a Change of Heart

On the Snake River, Dam’s Natural Allies Seem to Have a Change of Heart. By Felicity Barringer. New York Times.

Given enough years and enough losses in court, the political support for the four salmon-killing dams on the lower Snake River (in the state of Washington) may be showing cracks.


One point I’d like to clarify is the contention that these 4 dams’ hydopower provides 5% of the BPAs electricity. The dams were built primarily as navigation dams, not hydropower dams. The generation of electricity is not the number one priority.

Some contend that the constant filling and emptying of the locks has the result of greatly reducing the net amount of hydropower these dams actually deliver. In addition, the demand for electricity in the region is the highest at the time of year the amount of water in the river (and so capacity to generate electricity) is at its lowest. You can’t just look at “installed capacity” of the powerplants and estimate the dams’ electricity contribution.

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