Northwest Hydropower News

Warm water in Pacific could cook Idaho’s salmon and steelhead

By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman

History says the situation could be disastrous for Idaho’s salmon and steelhead.

A mass of warm water thousands of square miles in size that was five degrees Fahrenheit above average on the surface last summer is being called “the blob.” But scientists say it’s too early to tell if it’s short-term phenomena or a sign of a longer trend. Read more

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Idaho sockeye salmon success could be blueprint

by Keith Ridler
The Seattle Times

Strategies used to bring back from the brink of extinction a population of central Idaho sockeye salmon have been so successful they could be used as a blueprint to prevent other extinctions, fisheries biologists say. Read more


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Cowlitz River Coho return sets record

The News Tribune

A little after 8 a.m. at the Cowlitz River Salmon Hatchery, about 800 coho idle in a narrow concrete channel impatiently leaping at the stainless steel grate barring their journey upriver.

“It’s kind of slow up here right now. A little while ago we had 2,500 or 3,000 fish per day,” said Hatchery Coordinator Jamie Murphy.

Although there are still several months remaining before the last fish returns, officials are already calling this a historic year for hatchery coho salmon returns.

Mark LaRiviere, senior fishery biologist for Tacoma Power, said “this year we broke an all-time record.” Read more

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Wanapum Dam repairs will continue into 2015

By Cheryl Schweizer
Seattle Times

Grant County PUD officials should start raising the water behind Wanapum Dam sometime before the end of 2014. Construction work to repair a cracked spillway pillar and stabilize the rest of the dam is expected to last through March or April 2015. Read more

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PacifiCorp’s defection pressures Northwest utilities to get their act together on energy imbalance market

By Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian

PacifiCorp this week trumpeted the kick-off of its participation in an “energy imbalance market” with California’s independent grid operator.

It was the kind of announcement that only a utility wonk could love. Yet if it works as planned – and there were some initial glitches – it could save PacifiCorp customers between $10 million and $65 million a year while improving the reliability of the grid, reducing emissions and enabling the use of far more renewable energy.

In short, it was a no brainer, a precursor to the kind of “smart grid” transformation that power planners have been talking about for decades, but have largely failed to deliver. Read more

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Sea lions may be killing more salmon than estimated, NOAA study says

By The Associated Press
The Oregonian

Sea lions may be killing more returning salmon at the mouth of the Columbia River than previously thought, according to research on fish survival.

Preliminary research by NOAA Fisheries shows a steady increase in fish mortality over a five-year period that may be attributable to seals and sea lions, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council said.

A NOAA researcher presented numbers Tuesday to a council committee meeting in Portland, The Daily News reported.

The average spring Chinook salmon survival in 2014 at Bonneville Dam was just 55 percent, down from 69 percent in 2013 and 82 percent in 2012. Read more

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Energy Department Announces $10 Million for Full-Scale Wave Energy Device Testing

By, Northwest Part of Energy Department $10 Million Funding for Full-Scale Wave Energy Device Testing

The Energy Department, in coordination with the Navy, today announced funding for two companies that will continue to advance marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technology as a viable source for America’s clean energy future. Ocean Energy USA and Northwest Energy Innovations will test their innovative wave energy conversion (WEC) devices for one year in new deep water test berths at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) off the waters of Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Read more

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Energy Department Making Hydropower More Eco-Friendly

By Energy Department Making Hydropower More Eco-Friendly

Hydropower has long provided a flexible, low-cost, and renewable source of power for the United States—since the 1800s, in fact. Even today, in fact, hydropower accounted for roughly half of the nation’s renewable-generated electricity in 2013.  The Energy Department, in collaboration with the national laboratories and industry, is working to advance hydropower technologies by making them more efficient and environmental friendly Read more


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Applegate Dam hydroelectric project dead in water

By Mark Freeman

The federal government has pulled the plug on a utility company’s more than decade-long effort to build a hydropower generation system at Applegate Dam, saying the company’s work window has expired.

The license holder, AG Hydro, failed to begin construction of the 10-megawatt generator at the Southern Oregon dam by the December 2013 deadline, despite receiving a two-year extension on its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license granted in 2009. Read more

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Twin Rivers Hatchery Dedicated

By Becky Kramer
The Spokesman-Review

White sturgeon in the Kootenai River can live for decades and grow to lengths of 8 feet.

The bottom-dwelling fish share the river’s rocky depths with burbot, a pugnacious, freshwater cod.

On Thursday, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho dedicated a $15 million hatchery with the goal of restoring the two iconic fish species, whose populations have plummeted since the construction of Libby Dam during the 1970s. Read more


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