PORTLAND, Ore. – With sizzling temperatures reaching the triple-digits in Portland and the Pacific Northwest this week, people’s demand for electricity is sure to increase. Seasonal surges like this happen during heat waves, cold snaps and, in the mornings before work and in the afternoons when people return home.
When this happens, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dams can turn on – like a light switch (it’s actually more complicated than that) – to provide grid stability during the increased electrical demand.
“Our hydro facilities on the Columbia River can quickly deliver power during peak demands and maintain the proper voltage levels and frequencies across the electrical grid,” said Jordan Fink, Hydroelectric Design Center director. “These plants can ramp up and down within minutes or seconds, making them very nimble and flexible.”
Because they are powered by water, dams do not produce emissions like fossil-fuel burning resources, making the Northwest’s power system the cleanest in the nation.
“We’re fortunate to have a clean and predictable power source in the northwest, that supports many of our friends and neighbors in the region,” said Fink. “Even when the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing hydropower delivers reliable power when needed.”
Dams in the Columbia River Basin produce more electricity than any other North American river. They provide nearly 60 percent of the Northwest's electricity and almost 90 percent of its renewable energy. With no emissions or other waste products, the dams in the Columbia Basin preserve our fresh air and entice Northwest residents to explore the outdoors.
Release no. 22-042