McMorris Rodgers: Hydropower Deserves to be Recognized as a Renewable Energy Resource

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers offered an amendment to officially recognize hydropower as a renewable energy resource for the purpose of studying barriers to increased renewable electricity transmission access to the grid during the House Natural Resources Committee markup of H.R. 2337, the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007. The amendment passed today by a vote of 44 to 0.

“Hydropower is a clean, reliable, and affordable renewable energy source that serves as a key component in our national environmental and energy policy objectives. It is about time Congress recognized that hydropower contributes to renewable electricity transmissions," said McMorris Rodgers. "There are currently growing concerns about the impacts of climate change, and we need to find energy sources that will help curb greenhouse gas emissions without stifling our economy. Hydropower does just that and our dams in the Pacific Northwest produce one of the cleanest forms of electricity generation. I’m glad my colleagues recognized on a bipartisan basis that hydropower deserves to be considered as a renewable energy resource in this study.”

Hydropower is a non-polluting form of electricity generation. The National Hydropower Association estimates that more than 160 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions were avoided in the United States in 2004 because of hydropower generation in the United States.

"The Northwest Public Power Association applauds Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers for her amendment today to recognize hydropower as a renewable resource," said Will Lutgen, Jr. the Association's Executive Director. “With increased attention to making national climate change policy, it is important that Congress treat hydropower as the emissions-free, renewable resource that it is." Lutgen testified before the House Natural Resources Committee earlier this year on why hydropower is a renewably energy.

Hydropower accounts for nearly 80 percent of the nation’s total renewable electricity generation, making it the leading renewable energy source of power for our cities and communities. In the Pacific Northwest, dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers play a vital role in keeping the region’s electricity costs low. It would take three nuclear, six coal-fired, or 14 gas-fired power plants to provide the peaking capacity of the four Snake River dams.

In addition, dams are the crucial underpinning in providing additional renewable energy. For example, when the wind does not blow due to its intermittent nature, hydropower can step in almost instantly to provide backup power generation to provide much needed electricity.

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