With New Hydropower Bill WA Could See Jobs, Growth

By:  KNDU – Don Granese
Source: KNDU

President Obama recently signed a bill into law that will help develop small hydropower projects across the nation. It could also bring jobs and help landowners in our area.

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act passed unanimously in both the house and senate. The bipartisan effort could open the door for an entire new wave of green energy projects using water sources like irrigation canals to create hydropower on a smaller scale.

"As we continue to advance in an all of the above energy strategy, we must remember to include our nations largest, cleanest, most affordable, reliable and renewable energy source...Hydropower," said Republican Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers.

The new hydropower act will affect the entire nation, but here in the Mid-Columbia our already successful energy source could be used in a broader way to run entire farms.

"To see the potential and the benefit of Hydropower all you have to do is look at my home state of Washington State," said McMorris Rodgers. "Over 75% of our electricity comes from Hydropower."

On the Columbia and Snake Rivers dams transformed the way the state harnessed it's power. Now, with smaller and more privatized plants, the small businessman can get in on the hydro action. The bill was strongly supported by Washington politicians including Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell.

"To create the simplicity on this process, get the questions answered but do so on the front end instead of the back end in a legal process, I so appreciate your leadership on this issue in the house," said Cantwell.

While the effects of this freshly signed bill have yet to reach us, staffers from the Senator's and Congresswoman's offices say hydropower is pivotal to job creation. Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers says the bill nationwide could create over 700,000 jobs.