Dam! Podcast


Welcome to the official podcast of Northwest hydropower! Yes, you read that right. We’ll be covering hydropower, plus energy and environmental issues, while sharing the stories of the most interesting folks you’ve probably never heard of—from salmon scientists and policymakers to the heroes of public power. Now fire up those water-powered devices and get to listening!

  • Hydro 101: A brief history on Northwest hydropowerHydro 101: A brief history on Northwest hydropower
    Class is in session! The third episode of our new sub-series of the regular Dam! podcast is here. Hydro 101 aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of hydropower and how it interacts with energy and the environment–particularly in the Northwest. On this installment, we walk through the timeline… Read more »
  • Ep.34 Designing fish-safe hydropowerEp.34 Designing fish-safe hydropower
    Fish passage is a serious matter for hydropower–especially for our Federal hydro system in the Columbia River basin. Like the dams themselves, maintaining and updating fish passage infrastructure is essential to achieving the best possible results for our aquatic friends. One of the leaders in this field is Natel, who… Read more »
  • Ep.33 Charge! Funding the future of battery storageEp.33 Charge! Funding the future of battery storage
    Energy storage is not only essential to meeting our growing electricity needs, it also ensures a reliable grid. And, in places where even accessing that energy is a challenge, energy storage can alleviate the pressure on transmission infrastructure. Ravalli Electric Cooperative's slice of rural Montana is one such place, but… Read more »
  • Ep.32 Forecasting our clean energy futureEp.32 Forecasting our clean energy future
    The first step to solving a problem, is admitting you have one. We've known the demand for energy is outpacing our ability to build new generation, all while coal is retiring at a swift pace. Now, PNUCC's 2024 Northwest Regional Forecast is showing a clear gap in where we're headed,… Read more »
  • Hydro 101: How fish navigate damsHydro 101: How fish navigate dams
    Class is in session! The second episode of our new sub-series of the regular Dam! podcast is here. Hydro 101 aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of hydropower and how it interacts with energy and the environment–particularly in the Northwest. As the title suggests, this one is all… Read more »
  • Ep.31 Who's in charge around here?Ep.31 Who's in charge around here?
    With the hiring of Northwest RiverPartner's newest executive director, Clark Mather, it was only a matter of time before we would introduce him to the Dam! podcast listeners. That time is now. You'll hear Clark describe his background, just how small the public power world really is, his views on… Read more »
  • Ep.30 Live at the USSD 2024 annual conference!Ep.30 Live at the USSD 2024 annual conference!
    Dam! hit the road and headed to Seattle, Washington, to record this special episode on site at the 2024 US Society on Dams annual conference. We opened up the guest chair to anyone looking for their "15 minutes of fame" on the podcast, and the lineup did not disappoint. Listen… Read more »
  • Ep.29 Can hydro survive climate change?Ep.29 Can hydro survive climate change?
    Fears of drought, extreme weather, and a future full of uncertainty are not without reason. Climate change is front of mind for many, and reinforced by an onslaught of headlines and social media content. All of this begs the question, can our hydropower resources in the Northwest survive? If anyone… Read more »
  • Ep.28 Behind the story of The Grand PromiseEp.28 Behind the story of The Grand Promise
    On this episode of Dam!, we're joined by Rebekah Anderson, senior manager of communications at Tacoma Public Utilities and author of The Grand Promise. Her award-winning fiction novel captures life during the construction of Grand Coulee dam and illustrates the positive and negative impacts that it had on nearby communities.… Read more »
  • Ep.27 Elementary, my dear WaterpowerEp.27 Elementary, my dear Waterpower
    To know of hydropower and to love it go hand-in-hand. Today, the challenge is that less and less people actually know much about hydropower at all. The Foundation for Water & Energy Education, or FWEE for short, is tackling that challenge head on by bringing hydro to the classroom in… Read more »
  • Ep.26 How hydro powered through the January cold snapEp.26 How hydro powered through the January cold snap
    In January of 2024, a blanket of extreme cold and ice was cast over the Northwest. The winter storm presented many threats, and our grid was not immune to them. Despite extremely high energy demand, our abundance of hydropower ensured we never faced shortages and rolling blackouts. We reached out… Read more »
  • Ep.25 "Ask Bob"Ep.25 "Ask Bob"
    Clearwater Power's Bob Pierce is not just their COO–he's also the author of "Ask Bob." In this podcast, we ask Bob what "Ask Bob" is, how he got started answering questions from the community, and revisit some of his most popular questions over the years to get his take. As… Read more »
  • Hydro 101: Introduction to HydropowerHydro 101: Introduction to Hydropower
    Class is in session! "But hold on, what happened to my Dam! podcast?" Hey, no worries, Dam! isn't going anywhere. This week, we're releasing a special episode as part of a new sub-series of the regular podcast that aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of hydropower and how… Read more »
  • Ep.24 Get a job... in hydro!Ep.24 Get a job... in hydro!
    We're joined by Bree Mendlin, program director at the Hydropower Foundation, to discuss the various pathways and opportunities available to those interested in joining the waterpower workforce. Along the way, we take a deeper dive into the education efforts, STEM programs, competitions, and college clubs all helping guide students on… Read more »
  • Ep.23 Catch fish, win prizes, save salmonEp.23 Catch fish, win prizes, save salmon
    What do the three subjects in the title of this podcast have in common? They're all important aspects of the work being done by Sean Simmons and Angler's Atlas. On this episode of Dam!, Sean explains Angler's Atlas, discusses the importance of citizen science, how the MyCatch app and angling… Read more »
  • Ep.22 The show must go on!Ep.22 The show must go on!
    In our final episode of the year, we introduce Dam! listeners to Northwest RiverPartners' new interim executive director, Heather Stebbings. Transitioning from her prior role with the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, Heather brings a wealth of knowledge about the lower Snake River dams issue to the table. We discuss her… Read more »
  • Ep.21 Saying goodbyeEp.21 Saying goodbye
    We bid farewell to our executive director, Kurt Miller, on our 21st episode of Dam! On this one, Kurt shares the memories made and lessons learned leading Northwest RiverPartners, where he's headed and what he'll be up to next, and he shares incredibly valuable career and personal advice that you… Read more »
  • Ep.20 It takes a water-powered villageEp.20 It takes a water-powered village
    We welcome a very fitting guest to Dam! this week with Brenna Vaughn, executive director of the Northwest Hydroelectric Association–or NWHA. As you can imagine, we covered all things hydropower advocacy, education, the challenges and opportunities that hydro faces, and compared and contrasted the work of both organizations. Read more »
  • Ep.19 "Enchanted" grid resiliency solutionsEp.19 "Enchanted" grid resiliency solutions
    This very special episode of Dam! features Thomas McAndrew, founder, president, and CEO of Enchanted Rock, who flew in from Texas to join us in studio with his good friend Kurt Miller, executive director here at Northwest RiverPartners. We discuss the various microgrid solutions that Enchanted Rock provides, the benefits… Read more »
  • Ep.18 The little nukes that couldEp.18 The little nukes that could
    Okay, maybe they don't like being called "little." You may know them better as small modular nuclear reactors, and they could just be the big breakthrough we need to reach our clean energy goals. Luckily, our friends and member, Energy Northwest, knows a thing or two about this topic and… Read more »
  • Ep.17 Microgrid in a boxEp.17 Microgrid in a box
    What's a microgrid? Why put it in a box? How does this all tie in to hydropower? These are all great questions you're probably asking, and to help answer them, we pulled together not one, but three expert guests for this special episode of Dam! To explain the project and… Read more »
  • Ep.16 Rollin' down the river highwayEp.16 Rollin' down the river highway
    Dam! returns for another excellent episode with the Port of Lewiston's general manager, Scott Corbitt. Thanks to Scott, we get the full scoop on inland ports, barge transportation, the movement of agriculture products and goods on Marine Highway M-84, why the lower Snake River dams are essential, and so much… Read more »
  • Ep.15 Moving the grid forward... with Grid ForwardEp.15 Moving the grid forward... with Grid Forward
    What is grid modernization? How does one go about it? Why do we need it in the first place? All great questions someone might ask if they were going to do a podcast with Bryce Yonker of Grid Forward. Luckily for you, this is that podcast, and we asked all… Read more »
  • Ep.14 Wildfire: A worst case scenario for public powerEp.14 Wildfire: A worst case scenario for public power
    Billy Terry of Consumer's Power Inc. appears on this episode of Dam! to share his experience as chief operations officer before, during, and after wildfires scorched the community of Detroit Lake in Oregon. We dive into his utility background and getting his start in California, the changes he's witnessed to… Read more »
  • Ep.13 The unsung hero of the gridEp.13 The unsung hero of the grid
    We're joined on this episode by none other than Malcolm Woolf, president and CEO of the National Hydropower Association. Malcolm gives us valuable insights into hydropower advocacy at the national level, the ground being made on energy policy, finding common ground through uncommon dialogue, what makes hydropower the "unsung hero… Read more »
  • Ep.12 Boom or bust: There's water in them hills!Ep.12 Boom or bust: There's water in them hills!
    If you didn't piece it together from the episode title, on this special episode of Dam! we hear from our neighbors in California on the current state of hydropower. Nick Dominguez of Lassen Municipal Utility District shares the unique challenges California utilities face, gives us a lay of the land… Read more »
  • Ep.11 Policies have consequencesEp.11 Policies have consequences
    Washington Policy Center's new Eastern Washington director, Sean O'Brien, joins Dam! to give us some insight into the world of Northwest energy policy at a state and national level. We explore Sean's prior roles, including his time working for Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA), making a return home to the Northwest,… Read more »
  • Ep.10 Public power podcastin'Ep.10 Public power podcastin'
    It's a meeting of the minds between two public power podcast hosts! We're joined on this special episode of Dam! by Danny Combs, corrective action program specialist and host of the Coworker to Coworker podcast at Grant PUD. Topics covered include the behind the curtain discussion of successfully creating and… Read more »
  • Ep.9 Lightning to the transportationEp.9 Lightning to the transportation
    Cam LeHouillier, manager of energy research and development at Tacoma Public Utilities, gives us the scoop on all things electric vehicles in this episode of Dam! We take a look at bringing electrification to both residential and commercial transportation, charging and energy infrastructure, the important role of hydropower and clean… Read more »
  • Ep.8 Hydro historyEp.8 Hydro history
    This time on Dam!, author and executive director of ORECA, Ted Case, schools us on the history of hydropower and rural electrification in the Northwest. We discuss the subject matter of his books, Power Plays and Poles, Wires, and War, as well as the public power's representation in US politics, presidential libraries,… Read more »
  • Ep.7 Communication is keyEp.7 Communication is key
    In this episode of Dam!, we catch up with Katie Pfennigs, the manager of community relations at Flathead Electric Cooperative. She provides us with a Western Montana perspective on hydropower and the challenges of electric utilities in the Rocky Mountain region of the country. We also explore the fundamental value… Read more »
  • Ep.6 Of farms and familyEp.6 Of farms and family
    Dam! explores the topic of Northwest agriculture and where it intersects with hydropower with Blaine Meek of AgriNorthwest. We get to know what farming in Southeast Washington looks like and the community behind our agriculture, gain insight into the role of dams in irrigation and agriculture, explore the sticky subject… Read more »
  • Ep.5 Analyze & energizeEp.5 Analyze & energize
    Energy GPS's Director of Market Analytics, Steve Edburg, joins the podcast to do take a deep dive into clean energy, hydropower, and much more. We discuss everything from what Energy GPS does to the studies they've completed for Northwest RiverPartners on the impacts of removing and replacing the lower Snake… Read more »
  • Ep.4 Hydrogen: The "other" hydro powerEp.4 Hydrogen: The "other" hydro power
    On this episode of Dam!, Douglas PUD's Gary Ivory fills us in on his utilities exploration into hydrogen and what it means for his community and beyond. We also explore what else Douglas has going on, from hydropower projects to hatcheries and even broadband internet!  Read more »
  • Ep.3 The cliff of grid reliabilityEp.3 The cliff of grid reliability
    Benton PUD's Rick Dunn joins the pod to share his expertise on regional energy, grid reliability, and the technologies, including hydropower, that power his community. He also describes his passion for educating policymakers and the public on the importance of safety, affordability, and reliability when deciding how the Northwest will… Read more »
  • Ep.2 Pumped on storageEp.2 Pumped on storage
    In this episode, Rye Development's vice president of development, Erik Steimle, joins us to talk all things pumped storage. We explore this "alternative" hydropower technology, how pumped storage facilities work, and why they're an important asset in the transition to clean energy. Additionally, Erik breaks down what it takes to… Read more »
  • Ep.1 What's this Dam! podcast about?Ep.1 What's this Dam! podcast about?
    Northwest RiverPartners executive director and hydropower advocate Kurt Miller joins the show for our very first episode of Dam! We break down whos, whats, whens, wheres, hows, and whys–and any other questions you can think of–regarding a Northwest hydropower podcast. Together, we also give you some insight into the organization… Read more »
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