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Energy prices rise with efforts to save salmon

Californians are paying for the activities of environmentalists through higher energy bills. Environmentalists, who believe the system of hydro dams on the Columbia river in the Northwest impedes migratory salmon, have succeeded in forcing dam operators to scale back hydro power generation.

The dams are currently being operated more to satisfy the demands of migratory fish than to meet demands of the power market. The resulting reduction in supply has increased the price of electricity in Califor-nia. California relies on hydroelectricity for 22% of its power, of which one-third is imported from the Pacific Northwest.

The drop in California’s hydro imports from the Northwest, to less than half the typical supply in July and August, forced the California Power Exchange to buy more expensive power generated from other sources, particularly natural gas — the price of which reached record levels this summer.