From a Director — Angie Onyewuchi March 2021

March 01, 2021

Hydropower—A Northwest Treasure

Hydropower generates 90% of the region’s carbon-free, renewable power. Reliable and predictable, Northwest dams are a great compliment to intermittent power sources such as wind and solar. When the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing, hydropower is there to ensure the lights stay on for not only Salem Electric members, but for communities all across the Pacific Northwest. We are fortunate to live in a corner of the world that has a hydropower system that generates clean, renewable electricity, at an affordable price.

There is concern that major hydroelectric dams are causing harm to fish, but research shows that improvements in fish passage at many dams in the Columbia and Snake River basins has improved salmon survival to that of a free-flowing river.

The majority of recent salmon protection studies point to the widespread effects of warming, acidifying oceans as the major cause for salmon declines up and down the Pacific Coast of North America. If that’s the case, then maintaining our carbon-free hydropower system is even more important. I believe there is a way to balance a clean and sustainable environmental policy that protects our salmon and natural resources, while also providing reliable and affordable energy. Let’s continue the hard work together to find solutions that protect our environment and our hydropower system.