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Statement: February 19, 2009 Print this page
Docket No. P-2145

Commissioner Spitzer's statement on Rocky Reach Hydroelectric

"Today, we issue a new license to the Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, Washington, for the Rocky Reach Hydroelectric Project. The project's installed capacity under this license is 865.76 megawatts (MW). The project is located on the mid-Columbia River in Chelan County, Washington, and occupies about 1,500 acres.

Chelan PUD entered into a Comprehensive Settlement agreement with the relevant federal and state agencies and various interested parties. The Settlement Agreement addresses environmental, recreational, and cultural resources concerns while preserving power production at the project. I am pleased that the parties were able to reach a comprehensive settlement. I strongly support this settlement and the issuance of this new license.

With concerns about climate change and alternative energy resources dominating the nation's energy discussion, I note that hydroelectric power is a clean, renewable power source. Hydropower is a resource that is available when needed. It can be released or held back to respond to demand. This flexibility makes it an ideal source to serve as reliable and dependable back up supply to other intermittent renewable resources. Indeed, the Northwest region where the Rocky Reach Project is located relies on hydroelectric production for approximately two thirds of its electricity needs. The result is that Northwest residents have relatively lower electric bills than residents in other parts of the country. For all these reasons, hydroelectricity will continue to be an important component of the nation's energy mix.

I thank the team for their work with the licensee and for their work on this order.

I support the order."

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