A future of fish or famine?

Dear Editor,

I appreciate Scott Olson taking the time to respond to my letter. He expresses a view shared by some residents and ratepayers around the county. We all want to make the best choices for those now living and the generations to come.

The Enloe Dam power plant, if built, will alter the river at her most impressive natural feature, Similkameen Falls, replacing the nature rock along the north bank with a massive concrete wall down to river’s edge running up river to the dam. Surrounding the power house wall will be fence, cameras and lights. They will blast rock to build a holding pond feeding the turbine gates where we park today. The big salmon holes below Similkameen Falls become the outfall from the turbines. Silt, temperature, dissolved oxygen and fish kills all potential problems. Tough break for the fish and the local fishermen.

The Similkameen River flows can only produce a finite amount of power, 45,000 megawatts-hours annually estimated by the PUD. Let’s say it all sold locally for a retail price of $.05/KWh or $50/MWh, (45,000 MWh/year X $50/MWh = $2.25 million annually. According to the PUD 2008 estimate, the annual cost of generating power at Enloe (interest on capital, insurance, operations, maintenance and administration), will be $2.6 million, a net loss of $350,000 annually. Enloe Power won’t even pay its own operating expenses, and provides nothing to pay off the principle $64 million dollars we will need to borrow. In my opinion, this decision will lead to higher electric rates, bankruptcy and privatization of the public utility.

The PUD must stop spending, and start listening to those they serve. Conservation through energy efficiency, insulation and windows, combined with lateral grid-tied green energy production from the sun and wind, is the employment and the future we need. Make every house a “power” house, and return the Similkameen to a “wild and scenic river” again!

Joseph Enzensperger