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Cost battle on the Snake River

New wind turbines, other renewable energy resources and conservation would cost about the same as new fossil fuel plants to replace the power lost after removing four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River, a new report claims. The dams, long considered to be a cause of reduced salmon runs, are proposed for decommissioning to aid Northwest salmon recovery efforts. The report, by the NW Energy Coalition and the Natural Resources Defense Council, takes issue with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which says gas and coal would likely replace the 1137 MW generated by the dams. The report claims that with a strategy of 87% gas and 13% coal, residential electricity bills would rise about $2 but would increase carbon emissions by 0.7%. By using an alternative of 75% conservation and 25% new wind, along with some solar and geothermal, the report says electric bills would rise by $1-$3 per month but add no additional carbon to the air.

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