On my latest drive through Stevens Pass, I saw a few signs for savetheriver.org. After checking it out, I learned that the Snohomish Public Utility District is attempting to put a dam in the Skykomish River. The dam will supply 30 megawatts (power for roughly 10,000 homes.) The dam itself seems like a neat idea. it can be inflated and deflated as desired to let debris, salmon and water flow past the dam. The dam would only be inflated in the winter when the flow is the highest.
Of course environmental protection groups do not like the idea of adding a dam to the river and they have a pretty good argument. The river is part of the state’s Scenic River System and much of the PUD’s power already comes from hydro dams.
That being said, this design seems like a pretty good compromise design. It provides power and helps decrease the use of fossil fuels for power without having a huge impact on the land. If this isn’t good enough, I wonder how the environmental groups propose that the PUD should move to more renewable energy sources? The comments I read were all just renewable energy in someone ELSE’S back yard.