This staff issue paper explores issues and alternatives confronting the Bonneville Power Administration in a competitive energy market. Bonneville is facing unprecedented challenges. This paper explores a number of alternatives for improving Bonneville's competitiveness, and raises questions about the public purposes underlying Bonneville programs.
By way of background, the paper discusses the history of the federal hydropower system and Bonneville's role in it. The paper first raises questions about the public purposes to which the federal power system should be devoted and Bonneville's role in that system. Next, the paper addresses the size of the competitive problem Bonneville appears to be faced with. The paper next enumerates various alternatives for cutting Bonneville costs and increasing the agency's revenues. The paper ends with a discussion of the broader changes that may be facing Bonneville and the region's energy system.
The Council has not taken a position on any of these issues and, in fact, is beginning a major revision of its power plan in which many of these matters will be addressed. The Council is publishing this staff issue paper to promote regional participation in the debate.