Hydropower is a major component of how we meet electrical demand in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho Western, Montana). As a result, we have one of the least carbon-intensive electric grids and some of the most affordable electric rates in the entire country.

Advantages of Hydropower

  • Hydropower has virtually no carbon footprint.
  • Hydropower is reliable. Unlike solar or wind energy, it is unvarying and independent of weather and other factors. Intermittent resources like solar or wind need hydropower to fill the gaps when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
  • Hydropower is more affordable than other renewable energy resources, helping keep the Co-op’s rates among the lowest in the region, as they have been historically.
  • The hydropower projects in our rivers provide effective flood control for Northwest communities and have created recreational opportunities as well.
  • Water from rivers is a purely domestic resource that cannot be interrupted by foreign suppliers, production strikes, or transportation issues.
  • Even though federal law states that existing hydro is not renewable, it is largely viewed as a renewable form of energy that does not rely upon finite resources like natural gas or coal to generate power.
  • Hydropower turbines are capable of converting 90% of available energy into electricity, which is more efficient than any other form of generation.

Dams are like Giant Batteries.

  • Dams are highly efficient energy storage systems.
  • Water (potential energy) is stored behind the dam.
  • Energy is harnessed when water is released.

Help Hydro

The Northwest is a leader in clean energy. Luckily for us, our largest renewable, hydropower, is helping us churn out thousands of megawatts and providing wind and solar with firm backup in our quest to go greener. There are challenges to our hydropower sources, however, so together we must take action to protect these resources. If you would like to stay informed about the challenges to our hydroelectric sources and other issues that affect your member-owned, not-for-profit electric Co-op, we invite you to sign up for our Grassroots mailing list. Just select the “subscribe” button below, and select “grassroots” from the options.

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