Northwest RiverPartners Runoff September 2023

Runoff | September ’23

Welcome back to Runoff, the hydropower blog that still looks back fondly on those summer trips to the reservoir to camp, fish, and swim–at least until “something” touched it’s leg and it made a heart-racing dash back to the safety of shore. 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

60-Day stay extension in Columbia River System Operations litigation

With the August 31st deadline looming, the Biden Administration requested and secured an additional 60 days to extend the stay in litigation to allow for continuation of the already two year-long mediation process regarding the Columbia River System Operations. The stay will allow negotiations to continue, with the ultimate goal for a settlement to be reached that would prevent the litigation from returning the courtroom.

Our take:

  • Northwest RiverPartners did not oppose this limited further extension of the stay while we continue to review its longer-term implications.
  • We are deeply concerned by the handling of the mediation process and the significant negotiations that have taken place without our organization and others present.
  • In a recent article by The Seattle Times, Northwest RiverPartners’ executive director Kurt Miller said, “It is a bittersweet announcement; no one likes to be in court… I have absolutely no faith in the process. It feels like a bit of a betrayal. It has definitely not been a good experience… We will see what happens going forward.”

Read our joint press release HERE

Northwest RiverPartners launches Nevada hydropower campaign

You may not be aware that hydropower is Nevada’s second leading source of renewable energy, behind solar power. Not only that, but hydropower plays an outsized role in keeping Nevada’s grid reliable by providing energy during times of peak demand in the early evenings when the sun sets.

Northwest RiverPartners launched an informational campaign in August to call attention to the Biden administration’s consideration of proposals to breach (i.e., remove) the lower Snake River dams.

These dams are especially critical to community-owned utilities that serve Northern Nevada. Clay Fitch, CEO of Wells Rural Electric Cooperative stated, “The lower Snake River dams are baked into Northern Nevada’s economy.”

Our Take:

  • Losing the lower Snake River dams could mean electricity rate increases of up to 65% for public power customers according to a DOE-commissioned study.
  • This cost applies to all states with utilities served by the Bonneville Power Administration. We encourage you to contact the Biden administration and tell them you support keeping the lower Snake River dams. The administration will likely make its decision over the next 45 days.

View the ads HERE

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

Pumped storage hydropower is the greenest renewable energy technology, study says

Pumped storage hydropower is the greenest renewable energy technology for large-scale energy storage, a new study suggests.

Oregon Public Broadcasting
DOE Announces More Than $13M to Enhance Continued Deployment of Hydropower

Seven projects will attempt to advance the nation’s original renewable energy system.

In our opinion...

Salmon and farmers are on the same side

In the hottest year ever recorded, another wheat harvest is wrapping up. Extreme weather means it’s more important than ever to preserve the critical infrastructure we depend on to deliver goods to market.

The Seattle Times


Thanks for stopping by to read Runoff! We’ll be back on October 6th, 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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