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BPA Turns 75: A Look Back and a Look Ahead

September 28, 2012 - 11:59am

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To commemorate what BPA considers a 75-year partnership with the Columbia River, which is the cornerstone of BPA's relationship with the people and utilities of the Northwest, BPA releases the first video of a series detailing its history.

Seventy five years ago last month, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Bonneville Power Act that created the Bonneville Power Administration -- one of four federal power marketing agencies.

With that stroke of a pen Franklin D. Roosevelt unlocked the hydroelectric potential of the Columbia River, creating thousands of jobs during the Great Depression and later helping America win World War II. Roosevelt’s charge to BPA was to market the power generated by Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams at cost, an action that shaped an energy economy that’s still alive today.

For decades after the war, the river and dams have been a vital part of the Northwest’s economic engine. Today, those two dams and the associated high-voltage transmission lines have grown into the Federal Columbia River Power System, a system of 31 dams, one nuclear plant and more than 15,000 miles of transmission lines that continue to deliver low-cost electricity to the Northwest.

This century, the duo have been a driving force in helping BPA connect more than 4,700 megawatts of clean, carbon-free wind energy to its transmission system. We continue to work with our tribal partners and others to build one of the largest ecosystem protection and restoration programs in the world.

The first of the six-installment video series produced by the Bonneville Power Administration is “Powerhouse of Hope." The rest of series will unfold on the YouTube channel "BPA's 75th Anniversary," and chronicles BPA’s history focusing mostly on the past three decades since passage of the historic Northwest Power Act. 

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