Electricity in the Northwest

With a grid dominated by hydropower and nuclear power, the Northwest is blessed with electricity that is

  • abundant
  • affordable
  • safe
  • emits very little greenhouse gas
  • non-polluting.

For example, Washington state is the largest producer of hydropower in the United States, and has the lowest electricity prices of any state (combined prices from all sectors). (See here).

The Northwest is also blessed with civic-minded, publicly owned utilities. Energy Northwest is a not-for-profit public power agency: it owns Columbia Generating Station (nuclear), wind turbines, a solar installation, and a hydro facility. The electricity from these projects is sold, at-cost, to the project participants.

The future of electricity in the Northwest

Unfortunately, it is easy to take blessings for granted. In the future, people who live in the Northwest will continue to need abundant, clean, affordable energy. However, the energy landscape is always changing. The choices we make now will ensure that future, and this blog is about those choices.

Some recent developments affect the energy picture in the Northwest. These include:

  • rapid growth of wind power in Washington State,
  • new and proposed rules for hydro. These rules will safeguard salmon runs but may affect the amount and timing of hydro power availability
  • dedicated anti-nuclear groups sponsoring “studies” aimed at the only nuclear plant in Washington State
  • shale gas from Canada which is abundant and low-cost now, but is expected to be increasingly higher cost in the future
  • Energy Northwest becoming a leader in the deployment of small modular reactors, through a federally-funded project
  • climate changes that may affect rainfall, hydro power, and crop patterns

This blog will include facts and comments on most of these issues.Clean Air Energy

Columbia Generating Station and this blog

Many of the blog posts will be about Columbia Generating Station. Columbia has been an asset to the region. It provides 1170 MW of safe, clean, reliable, cost-effective power. It also provides good jobs, charitable donations, and taxes. Columbia Generating Station is a boon to the state and to the region.

This blog is sponsored by Energy Northwest, owner of Columbia Generating Station. This is a blog, however, not a series of policy statements by Energy Northwest. The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the bloggers. Statements in this blog are not official policy statements of Energy Northwest.

– by Meredith Angwin

1 thought on “Electricity in the Northwest

  1. I would vastly prefer we have another nuclear plant built so that we can shut down the Centralia coal plant. Maybe even two or three so we can return more rivers to pristine conditions.


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