Plan for dam doesn’t add up

Posted by in Letters to the Editor | February 11, 2014

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014, 1:00 a.m.

Everett Herald

Steve Klein’s guest Viewpoints commentary, “Sunset Falls dam: Balance is possible,” just doesn’t add up. He asks how to ensure low-cost, renewable sources of energy to Snohomish County. The answer is: “Stop wasting ratepayer and taxpayer money on this low-power hydro. We don’t need it!”
His project is not low cost. No other PUD or utility in Washington (with 25,000 customers) is proposing new hydro — it doesn’t pencil out. The Northwest has more than we can use.
SnoPUD’s already losing our money with hydro, Youngs Creek lost $1.6 million in 2012, so PUD filed for federal financial assistance (that’s you, taxpayer) and also asked taxpayers to help offset Jackson Hydro’s losses in 2013.
Even the power the Skykomish could generate is opposite the district’s demand. But it does fit California’s demand, which is where SnoPUD is selling Youngs Creek power. And like in the Sunset Falls application, PUD stated the power would be for the Snohomish County District.
The Sunset Falls dam power would not be considered renewable under the I-937 mandates. (But California can use it.)
Don’t be fooled by the “new weir technology” distraction technique. Most of the ecological devastation would come from blowing up the riverbanks to excavate a massive underground tunnel to divert our river away from the fish needing it to migrate. And I certainly don’t want to share the state’s most dangerous U.S. 2 with a billion pounds of granite hauled off in mega-trucks. Carbon-free, right?
The last time Klein tried this project federal agencies opposed calling the Sunset Falls location financially and economically “infeasible” for hydropower. So what’s he really “studying”? What’s “study” a euphemism for at SnoPUD?
Klein’s track record is scary. In the December 2011 edition of ‘World Wide Drilling Resource’ which states of the Garland Springs Geothermal plant “Klein also predicts it will be a whopper. ‘A 50 mega watt (MW) plant able to generate power to 35,000 homes…’ he said.” But $3.9 million dollars later, The Herald’s July 2012 article summed up his success in the headlines “Geothermal energy project a bust after drilling hit bedrock.”
In his commentary, Klein states “wind power accounted for 5.5 percent of our power supply in 2012” but in The Herald commentary on Nov. 10, 2013, Klein said “wind projects … in 2012 accounted for nearly 7 percent of our power supply.” (Power purchased, not even generated by SnoPUD.)
For someone who earns over a half million a year, (an additional $50K yearly bonus for new projects) he seems to have bad math skills.
There were a dozen other offenses in Klein’s commentary. Bottom line — can’t trust him.
Larry Wewel

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