California First To Feel Hydro-Power Crunch Of Drought
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Flying over the Sierra Nevada as California entered its fourth year of drought, the state’s energy chief looked down and saw stark bare granite cloaked in dirty brown haze — not the usual pristine white peaks heaped with snow that would run the state’s hydroelectric dams for the year.
Spring is arriving with the Pacific Northwest measuring near record-low-snowfall, and much of the rest of the West below average. But what California is experiencing is historically low snowpack — a meager accumulation that has serious implications not only for the state but potentially for the entire West if the drought not just of water, but of snow, persists.
Snowpack at 12 percent of average in the Sierra Nevada means there is less runoff to feed rivers and streams that run through dams to generate cleanly produced hydroelectric power. Despite the state’s ambitious clean-air goals, officials are turning to dirtier, more costly fossil-fuel plants to fill some of the power gap. They also will seek more hydroelectricity imports in a region expected to have markedly less to offer this summer.
Read full article at CBS LosAngeles