Emissions, Hydroelectric, Renewables, Water Treatment

EIA: Reduced water runoff will affect hydropower in Pacific Northwest

Reduced water supply in the Pacific Northwest this year will impact hydropower outlook in the area, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Northwest River Forecast Center released its first water supply projection of 2014 for the Pacific Northwest and indicated a below-normal runoff for a majority of the observation stations in the region compared to the 30 year average.

The region has the largest concentration of hydroelectric capacity in the country, and reduced generation not only affects the immediate area, but also neighboring regions, including California, that import hydropower from the Pacific Northwest, according to the EIA.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana host 35 percent of U.S. hydropower capacity, and the supply can have implications for the dispatch of other sources of generation and greatly influence regional wholesale power prices, according to the EIA.

“Absent an abundant supply of hydroelectric output, wholesale power prices may be increasingly determined by the cost of natural gas generation in the region,” the agency stated in the report.

Subscribe to Power Engineering magazine