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Spokane River

New 50-year FERC license on Spokane River signals certainty for the future   

Tags: Lake Coeur d'Alene, Spokane River, Renewable Energy, Hydro power

Post by Dan Kolbet

On Thursday Avista received a new 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for operating its hydroelectric dams on the Spokane River. For most of us living in this region, the dams have become part of the landscape, intimately tied to the river and how we view it. So, the commitment that Avista will continue to protect and enhance natural resources connected with the river means this view will continue. It also means clean, renewable hydropower from the Spokane River will remain a staple resource for Avista customers.
We’ve been working with hundreds of stakeholders to secure this license for seven years. Now that it’s been issued, we’re excited to get started with certainty about our operations. Some of the new items that will be implemented through out the life of the license include:
• Year-round aesthetic flows in the downtown Spokane area
• Increased minimum flows from Post Falls Dam and recreation water levels on Coeur d'Alene Lake
• Water quality improvements in the Spokane River and Lake Spokane (also known as Long Lake)
• Fish habitat studies and fishery enhancements
• Wetlands mitigation
• Improvements to recreation facilities, such as park improvements and campground upgrades
We received some solid press coverage about the license in newspapers today. Check out Becky Kramer’s article in the Spokesman-Review, which includes a detailed Q and A - Power play: Avista dams relicensed
You might also want to catch Brian Walker’s article in the Coeur d’Alene Press - Avista awarded 50-year dam license

FERC Commissioner Philip D. Moeller released a statement on FERC’s website yesterday commending all parties involved in the license process, but added a personal note that I think ties into many individuals’ feelings about the river. He said, “As a child I held a season pass to “Expo ’74,” the World’s Fair based in Spokane. The fairgrounds were located around the Spokane River with a focus on the needs of the world’s environment. Today’s order [issuing the license] balancing the various attributes of the Spokane River system honors the legacy and theme of Expo ’74.”  Read the full statement.
We heard from many, many customers and stakeholders throughout this process. Any additional thoughts or questions on the new license you’d like to share? Click "comments" below to sign in.
Posted by  System Account  on  6/19/2009
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