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Economic and dam related articles

BPA Fish Costs
Total Nearly $14 Billion

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, June 26, 2014

Lower Granite Dam impounds reservoir water nearly forty miles all the way to the Idaho border. BPA's fish and wildlife costs since 1978 add up to a tidy $13.75 billion, according to a draft report to Northwest governors compiled by staffers of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

For 2013 alone, the costs were $682.4 million, including $239 million in direct costs; $78.5 million in direct costs and reimbursements to the U. S. Treasury for expenditures by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for investments in fish passage and artificial production, including O&M costs of federal fish hatcheries; and $143.4 million in fixed costs (interest, amortization, and depreciation) of capital investments such as hatcheries, fish-passage facilities at dams and land purchases for F&W habitat.

The sum also includes $135.5 million in forgone hydropower sales revenue and $85.8 million in power purchases during periods when dam operations for fish reduced hydropower generation.

The draft report said the nearly $700 million in 2013 costs does not include $52.1 million borrowed from Treasury for program-related projects and $103.6 million for associated federal projects, which are funded by congressional appropriations and repaid by BPA.

The draft report says the total also does not reflect $84.1 million in an annual credit from Treasury from obligations of other agencies for dam purposes other than hydropower, which reduces total F&W costs to $598.3 million in FY 2013.

It says that 2013 F&W costs (including forgone revenue and power purchases) made up 24.5 percent of BPA's total Power Business Line costs of nearly $2.8 billion, and that approximately "one-third of Bonneville's wholesale rate of approximately $30 per megawatt hour is estimated to be associated with its fish and wildlife program."

The draft report says that since 1978, BPA's costs included $4.05 billion for power purchases related to operations for fish; $3.02 billion in forgone revenue; $3.08 billion for the NPCC's direct program (without capital investments); $2.26 billion in fixed expenses for interest, amortization, depreciation; and $1.34 billion for BPA's hydropower share of F&W projects undertaken by the Corps or BuRec that predated the 1980 NW Power Act, or to reimburse Treasury for the hydro share of major dam modifications for improving fish survival.

Bill Rudolph
BPA Fish Costs Total Nearly $14 Billion
NW Fishletter, June 26, 2014

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