Conclusion

The Columbia River system is uniquely suited to generate an immense amount of power.

This section focused on establishing some parameters to help understand how the hydroelectric system works, who is responsible for these projects, and laws and agreements that help guide operation.

As was shown, hydropower production is not uniform. Differences in ownership, structure, location and size are just a few of the distinguishing characteristics.

Added to this mix is a fairly complicated regulatory process. Regulations and the agencies that carry them out mirror the fact that the river is a multi-use system. This system responds to diverse demands and thus requires a diverse set of laws to protect the rights of those who wish to use it. And as a democratic society, there are many individuals and groups who try to influence both the creation and implementation of policies that guide how projects operate.

While such diversity exists, it is equally remarkable that system-wide coordination can and does happen. Because of such coordination, the Columbia and those who interact with it benefit greatly.

Other links in this home page that further explain the river system and how hydropower works include: What Makes The Columbia River Basin Unique and How We Benefit and Hydro Tours.

Sources used in this section include:

Echeverria, John D., Barrow, Pope, and Roos-Collins, Richard. Rivers At Risk, American Rivers, Washington D.C., 1989.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Hydroelectric Power Resources of The United States, Washington, D.C., 1992.

Foundation for Water and Energy Education. Database of federal, public and private hydroelectric projects in the Northwest. Spokane, WA, 1995.

Northwest Power Planning Council. Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, Portland, OR, 1994.

Public Power Council. Public Power Fundamentals: A Guide to Public Power in an Era of Competition and Environmental Awareness, Portland, OR, 1991.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Bonneville Power Administration. The Columbia River System: The Inside Story, Portland, OR, 1991

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Bonneville Power Administration. “Columbia River System Operation Review: A River At Work,” Portland, OR, 1991.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Bonneville Power Administration. “Columbia River System Operation Review: Final Environmental Impact Statement,” Portland, OR, 1995.

Public Power Council. Public Power Fundamentals: A Guide to Public Power in an Era of Competition and Environmental Awareness, Portland, OR, 1991.