The High Cost of Removing the Lower Snake River Dams

A Joint Analysis by the Washington Policy Center and Center of the American Experiment.

Proposals to remove the four Lower Snake River (LSR) dams: Ice Harbor, Little Goose, Lower Lower Granite, and Lower Monumental, to aid in salmon recovery efforts would transform Washington from a state with some of the lowest electricity prices in the country to a state with much higher costs.

These proposals received a boost when Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee and U.S. Senator Patty Murray released their joint recommendations stating that salmon and other species in Washington state face a dire future that is in part due to the existence of the LSR dams.

The Washington Policy Center and Center of the American Experiment’s new joint report details how replacing the LSR dams with wind, solar, and battery storage would cost Washington State $34.3 billion. This would force Washington electricity customers to pay an additional $330 per year, on average, through 2050.

Destroying the LSR dams would remove affordable, carbon-free electricity generators in a state that wants to electrify its home heating and transportation sectors. In all likelihood, destroying the dams would increase Washington’s reliance on natural gas.

“The original New Deal was very green, because it led to the construction of Washington’s Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams,” said American Experiment policy fellow Isaac Orr. “Tearing these dams down is a senseless destruction of critical infrastructure that will increase electricity costs for everyone.”

Click the “Download PDF” button to read the rest of the report.