Council Discusses Undertaking a Lower Snake Dams Analysis

At its February meeting, Council members discussed scoping a workplan for a proposed lower Snake River dams analysis. The analysis would assess the power system under future conditions, analyzing possible options for replacing the power generation and other power system services of the dams.

During the public comment period for the draft 2021 Northwest Power Plan, the Council received significant input on the future of the lower Snake River dams expressing great interest in having the Council analyze power system options if the federal government were to pursue further study or consideration of those projects. While the Council is not a decisionmaker regarding the future of the Lower Snake River dams—Congress and the federal government have that responsibility—the Council has the technical capability to analyze the amounts and types of power needed to maintain a similar level of power system reliability. In response to that public input, Chair Norman asked staff to draft a workplan for the Council’s consideration.

In the past, the Council, which deliberates in public and relies on advisory committees to vet its information, has analyzed the contributions from these and other dams to reduce carbon emissions. The Council also has previously studied the impacts on the power system in the event of the loss of major generating resources.

Following a discussion on what such an analysis would entail in terms of time, resources, and staffing, Council members asked staff to do more research for an in-depth discussion at its March Council meeting.