Study Advises Less Reliance on Hydropowerby Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - October 19, 2002
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SPOKANE -- The Northwest must wean itself from hydroelectric dams as a major source of power, according to the author of a study that suggested the region's economy would not suffer if four Snake River dams were removed.
Conservation and renewable resources such as wind can be as economical as new natural gas-fired turbines, said Mark Bernstein, senior policy analyst for the Rand Corp.
Alternative energy also provides a hedge against increases in gas prices that drive up the cost of electricity from gas turbines, Bernstein told members of the Northwest Power Planning Council on Thursday.
"Dam removal is not the main point of the report," Bernstein said after discussing Rand's conclusions. The Rand Corp. is a consulting and research firm known for its work on complex subjects.
Council members faulted the study for failing to acknowledge conservation efforts already made in the Northwest and questioned the economics of some of Rand's proposed conservation measures.
A response to the Rand report prepared by council economic analyst Terry Morlan noted the region has developed 1,600 megawatts in conservation in the past 20 years.
The region also receives about 500 megawatts from wind generation, he said.
But the Northwest requires about 20,000 megawatts of electricity, 82 percent of which is hydropower, he said.
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