This report describes some interactions between the Fish and Wildlife Program (FWP) and the Sixth Power Plan, suggests that some of these interactions be considered in the Power Plan, and discusses additional analyses that may be appropriate.
Mainstem operations for fish in the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) under the recent Biological Opinions (BiOp) have been extensively documented in the form of hydrosystem, and power generation and value models. This paper does not focus on these models and their results. Rather, this paper identifies potential changes over the 20-year Power Plan time horizon relative to recent conditions and analyzes some other, less-studied interactions.
The IEAB concludes that several important interactions between the power system and the FWP should be analyzed and discussed in the Sixth Power Plan:
- Three changes in power supply and its cost will have demand and supply effects that will influence the amount, mix and costs of power. First, under the 2008 BiOp, increased FWP costs relative to the 2004 BiOp will increase BPA power prices. Increased prices can be expected to reduce quantity demanded. Second, in the next five years, new temporary spillway weirs (TSWs) may change the required amount and cost of fish spill relative to 2008 BiOp calculations at three FCRPS facilities. Third, there is still uncertainty about the amount of spill that will be required in the future; some spill levels are still being litigated. These three effects are inexorably linked and should be evaluated with other economic factors to determine the net effect on power sales and price.
- Mainstem operations for fish inhibit hydrosystem flexibility and increase the costs of integrating wind power and other variable output renewables into the power system. Conversely, any FWP actions that reduce the amount of required spill, or allow for greater flexibility of hydropower operations, enhance the usefulness and value of hydropower for wind integration.
- New water management plans and storage facilities could affect power use and generation because of shifts in the hydrograph, increased surface evaporation, increased water consumption by irrigated agriculture, and use of power for distributing and pressurizing irrigation water.
- Terrestrial and wetland habitat protection and restoration funded by the FWP may create opportunities to develop carbon credits which might be used to offset the carbon footprint of thermal power supplies.
Interactions that may not need analysis but should be acknowledged in the Power Plan are:
- Projects implemented under the FWP are expected to improve fish survival and productivity. Some other habitat changes associated with land development and climate change are likely to be unfavorable. Potential effects on fish spill and its costs can not be predicted.
- The FWP is investing in juvenile survival research which may resolve long-standing scientific issues and lead to changes in mainstem operations.
- Changes in hatchery operations can have small and locally significant effects on power operations, primarily through bypass spill. In the long run, the Hatchery Scientific Review Group (HSRG) recommendations could affect juvenile bypass operations.
- Decommissioning of some existing hydropower facilities is expected, but power losses are small relative to the amount of power use in the region.
- Changes in the agricultural economy will have important effects on land and water use and on incentives for participation in some voluntary Fish and Wildlife programs, all of which could affect electricity use for irrigation pumping and water available for hydropower.
- Financial pressures caused by FWP expenses could reduce or delay power facility maintenance and repair activities that support the efficiency of the FCRPS, but this interaction is currently regarded as unlikely.
Interactions that are judged to be less important are:
- Habitat improvements will not have a noticeable effect on the hydrograph at FCRPS facilities