Anyone that considers themselves a conservationist or environmentalist has to be concerned with the incoming administration's cabinet in its entirety. It is plain to see this administration is for big business at any cost, the environment be damned.
Here is the question for those advocating the removal of the Snake River dams. They produce the equivalent of FOUR nuclear power plants.
Where do you want to put them??
Look even the city of Seattle has given up on conservation. Industrial wind areas means millions of acres of land destroyed. Coal is gone. We could follow California and put dozens of natural gas power plants....in western Washington since that is where the demand is coming from. Maybe that is where the nuclear power plants should go.
A few years ago when it looked like the dams might go...all of a sudden the Governors of Oregon and Washington decided it might not be a good idea since it would impact western Washington and Oregon.
Removing those dams is fine, but you need to replace the electricity generated.
With the Spotted Owl decision we shifted our timber harvesting to British Columbia. Out of sight and mind. Go look at Google Earth at British Columbia....that's is where the environmental impact of the Spotted Owl decision in the states resides. We stopped the most environmentally sensitive logging on the planet for Forestry Canadian style.....which as a professional Forester I can tell is a environmental DISASTER.
Cathy McMorris is wrong. 70% of Washington's energy comes from fossil fuels. 70% of the electricity comes from hydro.
Where are you getting these numbers? The four snake river dams have a generating capacity of 3033 MW (BPA's own numbers). Looking at averages from fairly recent* plants in the USA, each reactor outputs around ~1000 MW each and most recent plants have 1-3 reactors So, in reality, the Snake River dams generating capacity could be replaced with as few as a single plant, or, three reactors. Either way you look at it, "four nuclear power plants" is inaccurate.
Perhaps more to the point, that 3033 is only the THEORETICAL generating capacity of the snake river dams. The actual energy generated by those dams is just 1022 MW a year (again, BPA's own numbers). And even that number isn't really helpful on its own. Most of this power is generated during spring runoff. These dams are run-of-river dams and have no ability to store water for generating capacity (or irrigation for that matter) when flows are lower and power demands are at their highest in the summer and winter. At those times, the four dams are only generating 425-525 MW.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for us to toss up a new nuclear plant here in WA. That's a significantly bigger debate. Nor is it to say that the power generated by the Snake River dams can just be ignored and not replaced. My point is that the amount of power that would need to be replaced in the grid by removing the Snake River dams is significantly less than what you are presenting above. Yes, it's still power that needs to be accounted for in whatever dam removal plan is put forth. But it is not four nuclear power plants worth. In fact, it's barely even one nuclear reactor's worth.
* Bear in mind that "recent" is relative since few nuclear power plants have been constructed in the US in the past 30 years or so.
When I was working I received a spreadsheet with generating capacity of every facility in the United States. I compared the Snake River dams versus existing nuclear plants. That is the number.
I agree with your comments on THEORETICAL capacity. This is where Industrial Wind Areas really fudge their numbers. Generation by hydro varies by water year, etc. etc. Nuclear stays pretty constant.
The important issue is how is western Oregon and Washington going to replace the electricity they use from the Snake River dams?? We have more electricity than needed in eastern Washington....that is why so much of it exported out of region.
In California, their solar and wind push resulted in 30% new generating capacity for solar and wind AND 70% new natural gas capacity to back up the solar and wind. So does California have a solar and wind environmental program or is it really a natural gas program?? There was a article in WSJ or Forbes that California is using so much natural gas for generating electricity that they ARE setting the price of natural gas nationwide!!
I am not against dam removal. I would love to see the Hetch Hetchy Valley restored in Yosemite National Park and Ross Dam removed in the north Cascades. Those to me are higher priority than the Snake River dams. The city of San Francisco has THREE dams inside of Yosemite National Park!!