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pgfpro 03-21-2015 07:34 PM

California first to feel hydro-power crunch of drought
SAN FRANCISCO — Flying over the Sierra Nevada as California entered its fourth year of drought, the state's energy chief looked down and saw stark bare granite cloaked in dirty brown haze — not the usual pristine white peaks heaped with snow that would run the state's hydroelectric dams for the year.

Spring is arriving with the Pacific Northwest measuring near record-low-snowfall, and much of the rest of the West below average. But what California is experiencing is historically low snowpack — a meager accumulation that has serious implications not only for the state but potentially for the entire West if the drought not just of water, but of snow, persists.

Snowpack at 12 percent of average in the Sierra Nevada means there is less runoff to feed rivers and streams that run through dams to generate cleanly produced hydroelectric power. Despite the state's ambitious clean-air goals, officials are turning to dirtier, more costly fossil-fuel plants to fill some of the power gap. They also will seek more hydroelectricity imports in a region expected to have markedly less to offer this summer.

Man this is getting scary. Where I live (Coeur d Alene ID)there is no snow pack this year??? The normal winter run off is next to none?:eek:

California first to feel hydro-power crunch of drought

redpoint5 03-22-2015 05:08 AM

More importantly, my goal of skiing this year was ruined...

I wonder how this will affect electricity prices in the PNW? Do they go down since CA will pay a premium for hydro, or will it go up since less of our energy will be met by hydro?

People in CA should have micro solar anyhow. I know I'd install it if I were in CA, NV, AZ, or UT.

Sven7 03-22-2015 01:38 PM

I hope it doesn't start a backlash of people saying hydro is a failed system blah blah...

I also hope you guys get some rain up there. Although for you guys, a drought must be only 30 minutes of rain a day, right? :p

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