- Posted May 15, 2012 by
How America's most powerful river fuels hope
This is an important year in a successful partnership between the Bonneville Power Administration and the Columbia River. For 75 years, this partnership has helped the Northwest watch over the great river that creates the most amazing energy on earth.
The partnership is anchored by President Franklin Roosevelt's revolutionary idea that providing power at the cost of production would break down economic barriers that stood between the people of the Northwest and pull them from the grip of poverty. That idea became a reality in 1937 and remains our guiding principle. Our nonprofit status and commitment to public service sets us apart and steers our efforts to deliver the value of the river to the Northwest.
The Columbia River and the inexpensive hydropower it produces helped America win World War II. For decades after the war, the river and dams were a vital part of the Northwest's economic engine. This century, the duo have been a driving force in helping BPA connect more than 4,400 megawatts of clean, carbon-free wind energy to its transmission system. Wind is a great complement to hydropower�the original renewable energy source. The Columbia also waters the region's crops, opens its shipping channels to feed the region's robust economy, supports vibrant fisheries and provides world-class recreation.
However, power at cost and other benefits of this partnership have not come without consequences for people and the environment. Elements of the economic, spiritual and cultural lives of many Native American people were decimated by dam construction. To heal the damage, we have worked with our tribal partners to build one of the largest ecosystem protection and restoration programs in the world.
In that spirit, we have produced an "Ode to the Columbia River," to pay tribute to this iconic natural resource, which has done so much for the Northwest. It documents our efforts to share its benefits, mend damage and continue our perpetual partnership. We look forward to carrying on this amazing legacy.