The Pacific Northwest Uses the Cleanest Energy in the Country

The Pacific Northwest Uses the Cleanest Energy in the Country

by Mason PUD 3 on

December 17, 2019

Science Proves the Value of Renewable Pacific Northwest Hydropower to Mason County Residents

science.png(PORTLAND, OR) -- Of the country’s 20 largest electric regions, the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) hydropower-based system resulted in the Pacific Northwest region producing and using the cleanest energy in the nation. The Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a paper this month evaluating emissions from U.S. electricity providers. The report confirms the region’s clean-power credentials.

A Washington State Department of Commerce report shows that electricity sources for Mason PUD 3 customers are 98% carbon-free.

Eighty-eight percent of the power purchased by PUD 3 for its customers comes from renewable sources: hydroelectricity and wind.

Because of clean, renewable hydropower from the Columbia River system, public utilities in Washington State have a much greener mix of energy sources than other power providers in the Pacific Northwest or the rest of the United States.

“Hydropower is a 24/7 clean renewable that keeps our homes and businesses humming around the clock,” said Scott Simms, executive director of the Public Power Council. “We now have verifiable data confirming that BPA’s renewable fleet is the backbone of the nation’s least carbon-intense electricity area among large electricity suppliers,”

The Public Power Council represents the interests of non-profit, consumer-owned utilities that purchase most of the electricity sold by BPA. Together, these utilities serve millions of residents in large and small communities across five Western states.

“This flexible, carbon-free resource meets today’s demand for clean energy. It also provides the platform for meeting the region’s future green-power goals by integrating intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar onto our grid,” said Simms. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that in addition to clean hydro, Oregon and Washington are home to over 6,500 MW of solar and wind generation. Roughly 45% of those resources are within BPA’s service territory. In addition, 1080 MWs of proposed solar and wind generation plan to locate in the BPA area.[1] 

Simms said this PNAS study couldn’t come out at a more important time, as the federal government will soon release its draft analysis on how the Columbia River Basin should be operated in the future. “We can’t look at the river myopically. PPC members are committed to a successful fish mitigation plan and shouldering our fair share of the associated financial responsibility. However, fish runs will not thrive if we don’t address climate change. The federal hydro system must be an integral element of any climate plan. The low carbon aspect of BPA’s portfolio should be properly considered in the context of the government’s review. This PNAS report helps, especially as global carbon concerns continue to mount.”