The wet and wild West: Northwest hydro sets record levels this year

There is water, water everywhere with plenty to spare in the West this year. Hydro generation has risen to new levels on near-record winter snowfall, which has pulled down power prices into negative territory and cut back usage of other generation sources. Grand Coulee Dam has been supplying power to the Northwest for decades. Check out this 1941 Woody Guthrie song that tells of its beginnings. The Bonneville Power Administration commissioned Guthrie to write a collection of songs known as “The Columbia River Songs” about the benefits new federal hydroelectric dams would bring to the people of the Northwest. I wonder if Guthrie had any idea what Grand Coulee would do 76 years later. In May, Grand Coulee Dam power generation averaged 3,738 MW, up 48% from the May 2016 average of 2,531 MW, according to US Army Corps of Engineers data. And that number is only growing. As of June 15, power generation averaged 4,534 MW, up 54% from the June 2016 average of 2,943 MW. Inflows at Grand Coulee Dam peaked at 290.2 kcfs (that’s thousand cubic feet per second) on June 2, which is well above the 10-year average of 191.65 kcfs, according to data from the

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Source: CTRM Center

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