I enjoyed reading the Everett Herald’s May 15 article: “Dam fight grows; Skykomish on list of at-risk rivers”. Because SnoPUD’s proposed project requires a new impoundment, it violates the (I-937) Washington renewable energy standard. It also violates SnoPUD’s own published policies about rivers with endangered species issues because ESA threatened Chinook salmon are present at the project site.
SnoPUD expects to generate on average about 14 megawatts of power from the project, which would cost approximately $150 million to build. By contrast, a planned $300 million generator upgrade for Grand Coulee’s third powerhouse will provide 240 additional megawatts according to a recent article in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. That’s a huge difference. SnoPUD’s power would be 8 1/2 times more expensive than BPA’s! And – the Grand Coulee upgrade is qualified under the state renewable energy standard.
SnoPUD recognizes that the Skykomish River project will only generate a reasonable amount of power during spring melts and fall / winter rain events. But that goes for the Grand Coulee and all other Washington dams as well. In fact there is a glut of power during these times forcing wind generation to be shut down (but still paid for) due to overload on the grid.
In the article SnoPUD rightly says that they need to hear from ratepayers. A website and petition, www.savetheskyriver.org , were started this spring by SnoPUD ratepayers. Nearly 1500 citizens have joined the petition to date, each urging the SnoPUD commissioners to spend ratepayer funds more wisely.