|Balancing River Uses|
The Columbia River has been developed to serve several public purposes,
including: flood control, fish protection, power production, irrigation,
navigation and recreation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and
Bureau of Reclamation own and operate the federal dams.
The largest dam, Grand Coulee, irrigates one-half million acres and can produce as much electricity as six nuclear plants. Other Columbia River dams are owned by Northwest utilities and by British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority in Canada.
BPA operates the Federal Columbia River Power System to produce
electricity within the constraints of the dams' other public purposes.
Its a delicate balancing act that requires constant tradeoffs.
For example, boaters want full reservoirs, while downstream, water
may be needed for fish migration.
BPA coordinates release of water from headwaters dams in Idaho, Montana and British Columbia to get the most value from each drop at every dam all the way to the sea. It also coordinates power production from the river with other resources such as coal and nuclear plants to reduce overall economic and environmental costs.
BPA sells power from the region's only operating nuclear plant, Columbia Generating Station, owned by Energy Northwest (formerly, the Washington Public Power Supply System).
|NEXT: Power Revenues Pay BPA's Costs|
|Introduction | What Is BPA? | A History Of Service | Balancing River Uses | Power Revenues Pay BPA Costs | Enhancing A Renewable System | Fish and Wildlife Protection | Selling The Northwest's Federal Power | Transmission Lines Connect The Dots | The Future Is Yours | Back to mainpage|