Northwest RiverPartners Runoff May 2022

Runoff | May ’23

Welcome back to the Runoff, the hydropower blog that’s turning April showers into May megawatt hours. Each month, we capture the region’s most important hydropower news and give you our take on it, along with some more lighthearted and interesting segments along the way.

Hydropower round-up

Ink dry on Washington legislature’s dam removal study funding

At the start of the legislative session, Governor Inslee proposed a budget that included two separate $5 million lower Snake River dams replacement studies as follow-up to the Murray-Inslee process. One study on energy replacement and one on transportation solutions due to the loss of barging.

With thorough feedback, the House Appropriations committee–led by Representative Chris Corry (R-LD 15)–made notable changes to the budget language. These include the following:

  • The study should be performed by a western National Laboratory.
  • The study should be conducted in coordination with state and federal energy agencies, stakeholders, and utilities.
  • Projected lower Snake River dam replacement resources must be incremental to the resources required to decarbonize the grid.
  • The study must explore scenarios related to electricity demand, generation, land use, and grid reliability.

The final amount appropriated to these studies was lowered from $5 million to $2 million per study.

Our take:

  • YOUR voice was heard loud and clear, and the changes made mean these studies are more likely to be conducted in a manner that relies on science and data as opposed to politics. As is the case with previous studies on removal of the lower Snake River dams, we expect that their value to society will be further bolstered.
  • Together, we’re making a difference for Northwest hydropower. If you haven’t already, sign up today to protect hydropower and join our fight!

Montana passes resolution to oppose breaching lower Snake River dams

  • As you may have heard in our previous edition of Runoff, resolution SJ10 was being considered by Montana’s legislature. With broad bipartisan support, the legislature passed SJ10 and affirmed Montana’s support for retaining the lower Snake River dams.
  • This makes Montana the first state to officially take a public stance in support of these valuable hydropower assets.

Our take:

  • Once again, YOU–alongside Flathead Electric Cooperative, Montana’s largest electric co-op, and the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association–made a major difference here. SJ10 represents a landmark moment in protecting Northwest hydropower and our access to affordable, carbon-free energy.

RiverPartners DC Fly-In

Northwest RiverPartners’ contingent pictured Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Our take:

  • Our members shared stories about the importance of hydropower and salmon. They also emphasized the role of the lower Snake River dams in achieving the region’s clean energy future.
  • Our commitment to salmon and steelhead recovery across the region was recognized.
  • We heard strong bipartisan support for hydropower and for preserving the lower Snake River dams.

Catch the latest episodes of Dam!

Everyone’s favorite Northwest hydropower rolls on with all-new episodes premiering every other Friday.

Click here to listen to our full archive. Or, better yet, find Dam! on your favorite podcast platform. From there, you can subscribe to receive notifications, and give us a positive review while you’re at it!

Hydro headlines

Snake River Dams Gate
How to build more hydropower

Adding terawatts of hydropower capacity doesn’t have to increase ecosystem impacts.

Canary Media
Northwest Riverdams
Hydropower generators installed in Central Valley irrigation canals

A startup business that places small energy-generating turbines in irrigation canals -- including systems in Oakdale east of Manteca -- plans to scale up its technology for carbon-free hydropower around the country.


Thanks for stopping by to read Runoff! We’ll be back on June 2nd but in the meantime, be sure to follow us on our other social media channels below and spread the word about this blog with your own followers!

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