Mason County's Public Power Providers Proclaim December 15 as "Hydropower Appreciation Day"
by Mason PUD 3 on
November 29, 2016
Roll on, Columbia, roll on Your power is turning our darkness to dawn So roll on, Columbia, roll on
(SHELTON, WA) -- The Pacific Northwest’s hydropower legacy received a boost with the declaration of December 15 as “Hydropower Appreciation Day” in Mason County.
The county’s two public utility district commissions approved resolutions celebrating the Columbia River Basin’s hydro system.
Mason PUD 1 and PUD 3 chose December 15 as a day to celebrate “Hydropower Appreciation Day” for three reasons:
- This a perfect time of year to celebrate the blessings that make the Pacific Northwest a wonderful place to live.
- Nearly 97 percent of the two utilities’ electricity comes from carbon free sources.
- By a rough and unofficial estimate, nearly 97 percent of the Seahawks’ Color Rush uniforms will be “Action Green” when the team takes the field December 15 against the Los Angeles Rams. Therefore, being green, and wearing green is a big thing that day.
“Mason County’s electricity customers get about 87 percent of their power from hydroelectricity,” said Karl Denison, PUD 1 commission president. “This is clean, renewable energy that makes the carbon footprint of our region among the envy of the world.” Both utilities also get about ten percent of their electricity from nuclear power, making it 97 percent carbon free.
“Along with carbon-free energy, the Columbia River hydro system provides low-carbon transport of millions of dollars of farm goods and manufactured products through an efficient barge system,” said Linda Gott, PUD 3 commission president. “Irrigation has made eastern Washington State flower with an amazing array of agricultural bounty. The system of dams and locks also provides flood control, keeping our homes and cities safe from high waters.”
Hydroelectricity is the battery that makes renewable power sources like wind and solar work in the Pacific Northwest. “Hydropower can be called on at a moment’s notice to fill in the gaps when there isn’t enough wind or sun to generate electricity,” said Annette Creekpaum, PUD 3 manager. “Clean, reliable and renewable energy is the reason big companies like Google, BMW, REC Silicon and others have located operations in the region. This helps reduce their carbon footprint, save money on operations, and raise their status among their competitors.”
The two PUDs also reaffirmed their support for continuing efforts to balance the benefit of hydropower with the responsibility of protecting, improving and sustaining fish and wildlife that are dependent on the Columbia River ecosystem.
Mason PUD 1 and PUD 3 are members of Northwest River Partners, an alliance of farmers, utilities, ports and businesses that promote the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake rivers; fish and wildlife policies and programs based on sound science; and clean, renewable, reliable hydropower.
Quick Facts on Why Hydropower Should Be Celebrated:
- Mason County electricity customers get about 87 of their electricity from federal hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin.
- Hydroelectricity is the Pacific Northwest’s premier clean, renewable, and reliable resource, providing nearly 60 percent of the Northwest’s electricity and 90 percent of its renewable energy.
- Dams in the Columbia River Basin produce more electricity than any other North American river and account for 40 percent of all U-S hydropower.
- Hydropower output can be quickly used as an excellent back-up for intermittent wind or solar energy.
- High technology firms have located facilities in the Pacific Northwest because of the availability of reliable, clean hydropower, creating jobs and boosting local economies;
- Traditional industries and businesses, representing hundreds of thousands of jobs, continue to rely on low-cost hydro to stay in business and prosper;
- Barging of 42 million tons of cargo, valued at over $20 billion, on the “marine highway” created by Columbia and Snake River dams is the most environmentally friendly way to move cargo. It keeps 700,000 trucks off the region’s highways every year.
- The annual net earned income from Pacific Northwest agriculture exceeds $8 billion. The region’s economy is greatly enhanced by 7.8 million acres of irrigated agricultural land that without hydropower and reservoirs, would otherwise be too dry to farm successfully.
- A federal reservoir storage plan helps avert flood danger in the Columbia River Basin;
- The hydropower system and its public power customers fund an extensive fish and wildlife program in the Columbia River Basin. There are more fish in the Columbia River than at any time since the first dam was built on the lower river at Bonneville in 1938. In 2015, over 2.3 million adult salmon passed Bonneville Dam, the second-strongest return since counts began in 1938. Young salmon make the downstream trip through eight federal dams on an average rate of 97 percent survival at each facility.