[env-trinity] Two Klamath Articles

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Tue Mar 13 09:16:13 PDT 2007


KLAMATH RIVER:

Klamath dam removal study questioned; Utility says projections of savings
wrong

Associated Press - 3/13/07

By Jeff Barnard, staff writer

 

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - PacifiCorp told federal dam regulators Monday that it
might actually save money by upgrading four hydroelectric dams on the
Klamath River to protect salmon, contrary to a widely circulated report that
estimated it made economic sense to remove the dams.

 

In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the
Portland-based utility said it had commissioned a review of a report done
for the California Energy Commission by M. Cubed consultants of Davis,
Calif., which had found PacifiCorp could save $101 million by removing the
dams and buying replacement power.

 

Christensen Associates Energy Consulting, LLC, of Madison, Wis., found
problems with the economic model used to make the initial estimate, as well
the data fed into the model.

 

Problems were such that no good estimate could be reached. But when data fed
into it was corrected, the model came up with an estimate that PacifiCorp
would save $46 million by upgrading the dams and continuing to operate them,
Christensen Associates Vice President Dan Hansen said.

 

The M. Cubed report only looked at removing all four dams, the review added.
Looking at the dams individually, the model indicates it makes sense to
remove the Iron Gate Dam, but Copco No. 2 and J.C. Boyle would be
profitable.

 

''The CEC report is clearly not an appropriate tool to help us and other
interested stakeholders make any of these very difficult decisions,''
PacifiCorp energy President Bill Fehrman said in a statement.

 

The California Energy Commission received a copy of the Christensen
Associates review, but had not yet had a chance to go over it fully,
commission spokeswoman Susanne Garfeld said.

 

Richard McCann of M. Cubed did not immediately return telephone calls for
comment.

 

PacifiCorp, which serves 1.6 million customers in six Western states, is
seeking a new license to operate the dams for up to 50 years.

 

Indian tribes, commercial fishermen and conservation groups have been trying
to convince PacifiCorp to remove the dams to expand habitat and improve
water quality for salmon struggling to survive in the Klamath River.

 

PacifiCorp has said it would be willing to remove the dams if it could be
done in a way that benefits its customers. It has also said it is willing to
spend $300 million to upgrade the dams, arguing they are an important source
of electricity free of the carbon emissions blamed for global warming. 

http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/nation/16892789.htm

 

 

Owner of Klamath River dams attacks study; PacifiCorp disputes claims that
it would be cheaper to remove the barriers blocking the migration of
endangered salmon than to keep them

Los Angeles Times - 3/13/07

By Eric Bailey, staff writer

 

SACRAMENTO - The power company that owns four Klamath River dams blocking
the migration of imperiled salmon launched a counterattack Monday against a
recent government study that declared it cheaper to remove the structures
than to keep them.

Officials at Portland-based PacifiCorp said the study released by the
California Energy Commission failed to account for certain unavoidable costs
that could dramatically increase the price of demolition.

Bill Fehrman, president of PacifiCorp Energy, said the true costs of
purchasing electricity to replace what would be lost if the dams were
removed could cause the price of decommissioning the dams to skyrocket. 

The commission study relied on a financial model that was "riddled with
errors," making it unreliable, Fehrman said.

"We want good science, and we want good economic analysis," he said, adding
that the study "is lacking on both counts."

The Klamath, which emerges from the Cascade Range in Oregon and empties into
the Pacific Ocean north of Eureka, once was the nation's third-most
productive salmon river, with up to 1.2 million salmon and steelhead trout
joining an epic annual migration to spawn.

Today, the river's coho salmon are on the endangered species list, and its
chinook salmon have suffered such a steep decline that the 2006 commercial
season was virtually shut down on the West Coast.

Activists favor decommissioning four towering hydroelectric dams on the
Klamath, a move that would reopen more than 300 miles of river that have
been blocked to migrating salmon for more than half a century.

Their position was buoyed by the energy commission's study, released in
December, which found that decommissioning the dams could cost $100 million
less than operating them for another generation.

That study concluded that the cost of demolishing the dams and buying
market-rate electricity to offset the lost hydropower over the next three
decades would be far less than installing the vast infrastructure and making
the improvements needed for the dams to win license renewal.

But PacifiCorp executives say that finding was based on faulty assumptions
used to evaluate future energy costs.

Citing a study by Christensen Associates Energy Consulting LLC, the company
said the commission's review was marred by errors and inconsistencies in the
pricing of replacement power, failure to include future carbon emission
taxes as part of replacement-energy costs and an inappropriate discount rate
for financing.

"Removal of a project the size of Klamath would be unprecedented in North
America and, to our knowledge, in the world," Fehrman said. "This is
complex. It's not a simple matter of removing some concrete slabs."

Susanne Garfield, a spokeswoman for the California Energy Commission, said
officials at that agency had just begun reviewing PacifiCorp's report.

"I'm sure this won't be the end of it," Garfield said, given that
negotiations over the fate of the dams are continuing with Indian tribes,
fishermen and environmentalists. 

 

 

Byron Leydecker

Friends of Trinity River, Chair

California Trout,Inc., Advisor

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 ph

415 383 9562 fx

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
(secondary)

http:// <http://www.fotr.org> www.fotr.org

http:// <http://www.caltrout.org> www.caltrout.org 

 

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