Lower Snake River Dams: Hydropower Replacement Costs
Rocky Mountain Econometrics (RME) has been actively analyzing northwest energy
issues since 1985. In the 1980s and 1990s, the author was the staff economist for
the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.
In 1998 Governor Kempthorne, and later, Governor Batt, contracted with RME to
monitor the Army Corp of Engineers’ (ACOE) development of the FREIS 1 and the
potential breaching of the four Lower Snake River Dams in Washington State
(LSRD). In that capacity RME documented for Idaho’s elected leaders the
conclusions, errors and omissions in the ACOE’s analysis.
In 2002 Northwest Resource Information Center and RME published, “Idaho
Economic Effects of Breaching/Not Breaching the Army Corps of Engineers’ Snake
River Dams in S.E. Washington.” That document details that much of the ACOE’s
findings in the FREIS were flawed and that the best economic alternative was to
decommission the LSRD.
In early 2015 Idaho Rivers United asked RME to once again bring its expertise to the
subject and revisit the FREIS for the purpose of calculating the cost of replacing the
energy produced by the LSRD in current (2015) dollars. To that end, the following
pages present the context in which the four Lower Snake River Dams in Washington
State currently operate as energy producing entities within the greater Pacific
Northwest region. The following pages also present scenarios for viewing the cost
of replacing the electric power that would be lost if the dams are decommissioned.
Read the report: 2015 Lower Snake River Dams: Hydropower Replacement Costs (.pdf)
A Reevaluation of the Lower Snake River Feasibility Report
This chart shows the dramatic rise in the costs of operations, maintenance and repairs incurred while keeping the four lower Snake river dams in place as opposed to the huge savings obtained if the dams were breached now while maintaining recreational opportunities. Click here for a printable PDF document
Fish Passage Center on overheated Snake/Columbia waters
Requested data summaries and actions regarding sockeye adult fish passage and water temperature issues in the Columbia and Snake rivers…