Among the country’s 20 largest electric regions, the Bonneville Power Administration’s hydropower-based system resulted in the Pacific Northwest region producing and using the cleanest energy in the nation, a paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that evaluated emissions from U.S. electricity providers found.
Hydropower “not only meets today’s demand for clean energy but also provides the platform for meeting the region’s future goals by integrating intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar onto our grid,” said Scott Simms, executive director of the Public Power Council (PPC).
The PPC represents the interests of the non-profit, consumer-owned utilities that purchase most of the electricity sold by BPA. Together, these utilities serve millions of residents in large and small communities across five Western states.
“Hydropower is a 24/7 clean renewable that keeps our homes and businesses humming around the clock, and now we have verifiable data confirming that BPA’s renewable fleet is the backbone of the nation’s least carbon intense electricity area among large electricity suppliers,” said Simms.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that in addition to hydro, Oregon and Washington are home to over 6,500 MW of solar and wind generation, and roughly 45% of those resources are located in the BPA area. In addition, 1080 MW of proposed solar and wind generation plan to locate in the BPA area.
In a news release related to the PNAS report, Washington State’s Mason PUD noted that a recent Washington State Department of Commerce report shows that electricity sources for Mason PUD 3 customers are 98% carbon free.
Eighty-eight percent of the power purchased by PUD 3 for its customers comes from renewable sources: hydroelectricity and wind.
The PNAS report is available here.