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NW Fishletter #371, July 3, 2017

[5] F&W Program 2016 Costs Drop to 25 Percent of BPA's Total Power-Related Costs

All fish and wildlife costs incurred by Bonneville in fiscal year 2016 totaled about $621.5 million, including forgone revenue, or about 25 percent of BPA's total power-related costs, according to a draft report released June 14.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council annual report to the Northwest's four governors said FY 2015 costs came in at $757 million, or 33.3 percent of power-related costs.

The Council's reports, which are based on information compiled by BPA's Fish and Wildlife division, put direct program costs at about $258 million for each of the two past years.

A reduction in forgone revenue and power purchases in FY 2016 are the reason F&W expenditures have dropped from 33.3 to 25 percent of BPA's power-related costs, the Council report said.

The difference is that in FY 2016, forgone hydropower sales revenue came to $76.6 million and power purchases to replace that power totaled $50.3 million, while in FY 2015, forgone revenue was $196 million and power purchases were $68 million.

The draft report on FY 2016 fish and wildlife spending is available for public comment until July 21, 2017, after which the 16th annual report will be sent to the governors of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

At the request of the four states' governors, the Council since 2001 has produced an annual accounting of fish and wildlife costs incurred under the regional power act's Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.

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BPA reported the following fiscal year fish and wildlife costs. The total fish and wildlife costs include foregone revenue and power purchases.

The draft report says BPA receives a credit under Section 4(h)(10)(C) of the Northwest Power Act as reimbursement for the non-power share of fish and wildlife costs Bonneville pays annually, including a portion of the power purchases.

Subtracting the credit reduces the total FY 2016 fish and wildlife costs to $548.9 million assumed by ratepayers, the draft states. The federal government is responsible for the non power-purposes share of $72.6 million.

The credit is explained in more detail in the draft report's "Power System Costs" section.

Fish and wildlife costs are part of BPA's power-related expenses and do not include costs associated with Bonneville's transmission system.

The draft report also shows the cost to ratepayers for the Federal Columbia River Power System BiOps since 2009. At $191 million, costs were at their highest in 2012, dropping to $161 million in 2016. Only 2009 and 2014 costs were lower than in 2016.

A 2009 report to Northwest governors shows 2004-2009 annual BiOp spending between $70 million and $118 million per year.

By species, most of the FY 2016 Endangered Species Act spending has gone to five steelhead populations.

Habitat restoration and protection received the most funding at 43 percent, or $117.9 million of the FY 2016 direct program dollars, with the second most, 30 percent or $82.3 million, spent on research, monitoring and evaluation.

Geographically, the Columbia Plateau, which comprises much of the Columbia River Basin in Washington and Oregon including the lower Snake River, receives 22 percent of the funding and the lower Columbia, which does not include the estuary, receives the next most at 15 percent.

BPA's total operating expenses were 2.9 billion in FY 2016 and 2.7 billion in FY 2015, according to the power-marketing agency's reports to Congress. -Laura Berg

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NW Fishletter is produced by Energy NewsData.
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Mark Ohrenschall, Editor: Laura Berg
Phone: (206) 285-4848 Fax: (206) 281-8035

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