Hydroelectric dams are a good thing!

I have recently read stories in the newspaper about a proposal to stop using four hydroelectric dams that have existed for more than 80 years on the Kennebec River between Waterville and Skowhegan (“4 dams, the future of Kennebec fish runs and salmon’s survival at stake in federal licensing battle,” Feb. 3). This should not be done, because these dams produce low-cost electricity without causing any pollution.

Some people say they want these dams removed to allow more Atlantic salmon to go up the river to spawn, grow, and be harvested along the coast of Maine and sold for food. They also want the river to be more natural, as it was many years ago.

I learned about a decade ago that climate change has made the ocean water warmer along the coast of Maine, causing salmon to migrate north into Canada, where the water is cooler.  This will continue until we properly address the problem of climate change. Reducing use of fossil fuel is much more important than removing dams.

We need to greatly reduce the amount of fossil fuel used to make electricity and fuel for vehicles. We are now producing more solar electricity, but not at night when we need electricity to light our buildings. We can get electricity from wind, but the wind is not always blowing. Hydroelectric dams can produce electricity when solar and wind electricity are not available. This is important for businesses such as Sappi, which operate through the night.

It is better to maintain and continue to use our hydroelectric dams instead of burning fossil fuel. We have removed some dams in Maine, which caused us to burn more fossil fuel to get electricity. Maybe we could build more dams in addition to getting more electricity from solar and wind.


Walter Elery Keene


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