The Legacy of Grand Coulee Dam by Nancy Radke #mgtab

Aerial view of Grand Coulee Dam, Washington. Columbia Basin Project, WA.

People don’t usually think of dams in this way, but they are a renewable solar energy resource. Read on to find out why we can make this claim.

I was watching a saleswoman showing off electric cars on TV, when a fellow asked her where the electricity came from.  She replied that you just plug the cord into the socket. So he asked her where that electricity came from, and she said, “the house,” and eventually, “the city.” 

She had a hard time getting back to the origins of electricity, which is created by a generator that is turned by some form of energy.  Yes, it takes energy to make electricity. There are large plants that burn coal, which can produce enough electricity for several cities. Small amounts of electricity can also be produced by wind power and solar power. 

The undisputed champion electricity makers are dams. Huge dams, like Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam, produce hydroelectric power for entire states. Hoover produces about half the amount of electricity as Grand Coulee. The excess electricity from Grand Coulee Dam is even sold to California. The giant turbines move so slowly that the fish can swim right down through them, although they do need the fish ladders when they go upstream. The smaller turbine blades are 23 feet across.

The Columbia River is a constantly renewable solar energy resource (solar= water in ocean is heated by sun, water rises, sun makes the wind to move the clouds, water falls as rain, runs to river and continues in a circle).

I am especially interested in Grand Coulee Dam, since my father-in-law worked on it as an engineer. His wife kept a large scrapbook—which I have—of their progress. They invented tools and machinery when they needed something not yet made. The army made sure he finished there before he shipped out to help fight WW2, first under MacArthur in Australia, then under Patton, doing special work for both those generals. 

Grand Coulee Dam not only produces a huge amount of electricity (10,180,000 kilowatts), but it irrigates Eastern Washington and controls flooding. There are many more dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, but none quite as grand as the Grand Coulee. 

One of my books, Height of Danger, concerns an engineer building a dam in Central America. The dam will bring prosperity to the country, so the workers can’t figure out why someone is sabotaging the project. The head engineer’s daughter is kidnapped and they demand he abandon the project. This suspense-thriller is free and part of a new Authors’ Billboard set, Fabulous Freebies.

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About Nancy Radke

A USA Today bestselling author, Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse's nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. Nancy spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said "Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes." It is light and humorous. Nancy currently has over 30 books written, both modern and western. All her stories are sweet and wholesome.  View website

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