Emissions, Hydroelectric

Cold weather spurs energy consumption; more power needed from Columbia River dams

PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 13, 2001 (PRNewswire) — The Bonneville Power Administration said today that generation on the Columbia River is being increased through the end of the week in order to avoid power shortages during the current cold weather.

“We are seeking to appropriately balance the needs of fish and electricity consumers during a serious drought,” said Steve Wright, acting administrator. “Even so, we have employed every means available to minimize deviations from salmon guidelines this year and will continue to do so.”

Greg Delwiche, BPA vice president for power supply, said water releases to produce additional power since Jan. 18 have had the effect of reducing spring flows on Columbia River by less than 1 percent. Actions taken this week will use a small additional fraction of water available later for fish migration.

Delwiche said spring runoff into the Columbia River is now forecast to be the fourth lowest in over 70 years. Hydro generation this winter has been 4,000 average megawatts less than the past five-year average. That’s about four times the amount needed for the city of Seattle. Meanwhile, power normally available from California has dried up due to shortages there.

SOURCE: Bonneville Power Administration