Columbia River Powers Washington's Electric Needs

Washington state's electricity generating capacity is powered by the Columbia River, making Washington the national leader in hydro-electric production.

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One of Washington state's key advantages is the availability and cost of power.

The state has developed a reputation for capitalizing on energy efficiency opportunities to extend supplies and keep prices competitive, and both private and public utilities provide power to residential and commercial customers.

The state's generating capacity is powered by the Columbia River, making Washington the national leader in hydroelectric production. Hydropower accounts for nearly 75 percent of electricity generation and is a major draw for manufacturing and operations, such as data centers that require large volumes of power.

The average electric cost per kilowatt hour for industrial users in Washington is 4.07 cents, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, lower than Oregon and California, and well below the U.S. average of 6.77 cents per kilowatt hour.

The federally operated Grand Coulee hydroelectric complex on the Columbia River, built between 1933 and 1942, is the highest capacity electric plant in the United States, producing 21 billion kilowatt hours of electricity every year.

Power from the Grand Coulee provides the cheapest electricity to those in the region. The average price of industrial electricity in Washington is 4.09 cents per kilowatt hour.

Thanks to legislation passed in 2006, Washington has also committed that 15 percent of new electricity generation will be produced through renewable energy sources, such as wind, tidal, biofuel, biomass and solar sources.



Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for ... more

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Fri, 10/27/2017 - 19:55