Together We Can Make a Difference
In order to settle several lawsuits over salmon survival in the Columbia River system, the federal government is considering a proposal to close 4 Lower Snake River Dams in Washington state, which would cause electricity rates to increase by as much as 65%, according to the Bonneville Power Administration.
With your help, we can ensure our federal lawmakers know where we stand and urge them to save our Lower Snake River Dams.
By The Numbers
- 85% of Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC) power comes from hydroelectric sources
- 65% increase in electric rates if dams are closed
- 95-98% of salmon survive with the addition of fish ladders
- 755.4 million kilowatt-hours sold across WREC’s service area
The turmoil around the dams on the Lower Snake River revolves around salmon populations. However, with the installation of fish ladders and passages, salmon survival at the dams is between 95 and 98 percent. While the dams have been oft-vilified, research shows that warming ocean conditions and the resulting predation in the ocean present the largest threat to salmon populations.
- Lower Snake River Dams — The 4 dams produce over 1,000 MW annually on average, enough to power more than 800,000 homes, with a maximum capacity of over 3,000 MW.
- Fish Ladders — Fish ladders were built to assist salmon in their migration upstream. A series of gates and chambers help facilitate migration patterns so they aren’t stopped by the barrier of the dam. Some fish could not swim in the dark, so lights had to be installed that would essentially mimic sunlight. Fish survival at the dams is between 95% and 98%.
- Fish Counting — It is someone’s job to sit at the fish counter’s booth to manually count the number of fish passing through the dam. During peak salmon runs, the fish counter may see between 10,000 to 20,000 fish pass in an hour.
Affordable — Hydro generation is 100% efficient. Because of that, it’s also one of the most inexpensive ways to generate electricity. It’s not a coincidence that utilities in the Pacific Northwest, and WREC, are able to offer some of the lowest rates in the country.
Reliable — Hydropower is the only form of renewable baseload electricity generation. Hydro dams produce constant, consistent baseload around the clock and can be ramped up or down very quickly to work alongside intermittent production.
Vital — Hydro is a clean energy. With our nation’s stated goals to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, the hydro dams’ ability to provide carbon-free baseload is an essential, foundational part of any path to zero emissions.