« PreviousContinue »
PAUL J. RAVER, Administrator
THE FOURTH WAR YEAR
RY June 30, 1945, the power of the Columbia River, harnessed by the
two great Federal projects, Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams, and marketed by the Bonneville Power Administration, had played a major role in the production of several billion dollars worth of ships, planes, light metals, chemicals, and other war supplies.
During the 372 years since the United States entered the war on December 7, 1941, the Administration has delivered a total of 17.5 billion kilowatt-hours to war industries and military establishments. Revenues from the sale of this power for war purposes aggregated $43,216,192 to June 30, 1945.
War loads continued to consume a major share of the Administration's total power deliveries during the 1945 fiscal year. Of 8.5 billion kilowatt-hours sold during that 12-month period, the Pacific Northwest's five aluminum reduction plants and one aluminum rolling mill took 4.6 billion kilowatt-hours. Although minor cutbacks in Northwest aluminum production occurred early in 1944 and more serious cut-backs threatened, the Nation's continuing high level of aircraft production made it necessary to revise estimates of aluminum requirements, and by the summer of 1945 all of the Northwest plants had been requested to increase production to capacity. In fiscal year 1945, as in 1944, the Northwest plants produced more than one-third of the Nation's entire aluminum output. Aluminum produced with Columbia River power contributed greatly toward the establishment of United States air supremacy in the European and Pacific battle areas. The 503,144,000 pounds of aluminum produced by Northwest plants in this 12-month period was sufficient to produce 10,000 B-29s or 150,000 fighter planes.
Of even greater importance to final victory in World War II was the contribution made by Bonneville-Grand Coulee power to the development of the atomic bomb. The location of the Hanford Engineer Works in the Pacific Northwest was determined to a considerable extent by the availability of large quantities of hydroelectric power and water from the Columbia River.
Working closely with representatives of the United States Army and the Hanford project, engineers of the Bonneville Power Administration conducted studies to determine: (a) The most reliable location on the Bonneville Power Administration system for the important Hanford load, (b) what system circuits and connections would be necessary so that the Bonneville generators could pick up and carry this load in case of trouble at the Coulee powerhouse, (c) how the remainder of the Bonneville system could be disconnected from the Hanford load to permit the Bonneville powerhouse or the Coulee powerhouse generators to continue carrying the Hanford load in case of major disturbances on the Bonneville system.
As a result of these studies, the Bonneville Power Administration was able to provide large quantities of power to the Hanford project with the highest possible degree of reliability, a prime requisite to successful production of the atomic bomb.
Other war materials produced during the past year in plants using Bonneville-Grand Coulee power included 181 ships—54 Victory cargo ships, 62 troopships, 63 tankers and 2 aircraft carriers and large quantities of calcium carbide, ferroalloys, chemicals and explosives.
While the Bonneville Power Administration continued its home front job of delivering power for war, 1,050 employees on military furlough with the nation's armed forces were scattered over fighting fronts throughout the world.
CURRENT OPERATIONS Kilowatt-hour sales of the Bonneville Power Administration for fiscal year 1945 totaled 8,502,000,000 compared with 8,671,000,000 the preceding year. Despite the slight drop in kilowatt-hours, revenues increased 10 percent from $20,896,000 to $22,990,000 after deduction of a $438,560 reserve for contract and bill adjustments. This situation arises from the fact that the revenues are power billings which are based upon capacity contracted for, rather than upon energy delivered as regards the bulk of the Administration's service. For the period from the commencement of operation to June 30, 1945, earnings from power sales have aggregated $63,626,000.
INDUSTRIAL AND RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
As World War II drew to a close in 1945, the Bonneville Power Administration began to focus attention more sharply on the problem of developing peacetime power markets to utilize surplus power becoming available as Pacific Northwest war plants curtailed operations or closed.
Analysis of the Administration's war loads indicates that a maximum of 600,000 kilowatts, or approximately 50 percent of our total capacity may become available for remarketing.
Confronted with this possibility, the Administration is devoting considerable effort to the formulation of an extensive program of market and system development designed to provide markets for surplus power as quickly as possible, and to assist in retaining the Pacific Northwest's wartime industrial gains. The marketing program is directed toward the development of new power markets in industries that will directly or indirectly provide jobs for returning service men and displaced war workers.
REPORTS As a part of this program, the Division of Industrial and Resources Development completed a number of reports during fiscal year 1945, based on continuing studies of Pacific Northwest resources and potential power markets.
A particularly valuable report issued during fiscal 1945 was one entitled “A Preliminary Report on the Plastics Industry as Related to Pacific Northwest Industry.” This report originally had been prepared for limited distribution to technical and industrial interests. The response from industry, however, was so overwhelming that a new printing was ordered.
A new supplemental report on the same subject is now in course of preparation. It deals in specific terms with cellulose-base plastics, for the manufacture of which a great potential exists in the Pacific Northwest.
Economic surveys under the general title “Economic Base for Power Markets” were issued for the following counties: Clatsop County, Oreg., and Cowlitz, Walla Walla, and Thurston Counties in Washington. Similar surveys which were under preparation during the year and are scheduled for early release include Lane, Lincoln, and Benton Counties in Oregon; Flathead, Lake, and Sanders Counties in Montana. In Washington State, studies were under way for Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Clallam-Jefferson, Franklin, Benton, Skagit, Mason, Grays Harbor, Stevens, Ferry, and Pend Oreille Counties.
Reports for use within the Administration included one entitled “A Preliminary Study of Railroad Electrification in the Pacific Northwest.” In brief, this study revealed the following points:
(1) In a region of great hydroelectric abundance, it seems undesirable from the standpoint of national interest to allow a continuously replaceable form of energy to remain unused while remaining irreplaceable reserves of petroleum and coal are further depleted.
(2) The development and utilization of railroad motive power is at a critical juncture, with newer forms of prime movers rapidly appearing to claim the place long occupied by the old familiar reciprocating steam locomotive.
(3) The Diesel-electric locomotive, which thus far has been and gives promise of continuing to be the most likely replacement for the steam locomotive, is not a completely satisfactory answer. Neither phsyically nor economically does the Diesel solve all the problems which are posed by the retirement of the steam locomotive. So far as yard switching service goes, the Diesel is granted to have proved its case, and not even the most ardent advocates of electrification suggest any deviation from the trend toward their full replacement of steam units in yard and industrial trackage assignments.
(4) For main-line purposes, the problems are entirely different. Here a strong case, and it is believed an ultimately compelling one, can be made for the straight-electric locomotive.
(5) Physically, the straight-electric locomotive compares favorably with the Diesel-electric. Actually, they are both electric locomotives so far as the method by which torque is supplied to driving wheels is concerned. Where they differ is that one is supplied with electricity generated on the locomotive by a severely limited mechanism of prime mover, generator, etc., which must also carry its own fuel supply as dead weight and which has no overload capacity whatsoever, while the other can be supplied from a trolley system with the almost limitless capacity of hydroelectric central stations.
The Bonneville Power Administration, realizing that there was relatively little likelihood of adding to electrified trackage during the war, has directed its inquiries toward an appraisal of the postwar possibilities. Action has been sought on a power rate schedule that would be conducive to the consideration of electrification, and some thought has been given to the best and most economically feasible method of bringing service from the Administration's facilities to the railroad's trolley systems. This has involved some attention to the problem of standardization of railway electrification systems which have in the past involved too many variations to lend themselves either to the most economic manufacture or operation. Studies will be continued particularly on these two subjects during the ensuing year.
Numerous other technical reports were prepared, including one on the effects of new industrial developments on tax revenues in the Pacific Northwest, and one entitled "A Review Study of the Columbia Basin” for the use of the Bureau of Reclamation. A third report dealt with shipments through the locks of Bonneville Dam. An exhaustive report was also made on the zinc lead mines of the Pacific Northwest and tributary areas.
INDUSTRIAL CONTACT ACTIVITIES In carrying out the Bonneville Power Administration's industrial research and development programs, contacts have been made with leading industrialists and businessmen throughout the country.
Through these contacts valuable information on the Northwest's resources and market potentialities has been made available to industries in all sections of the country, many of which are looking to the Pacific coast as the last industrial frontier. .
Bonneville's industrial contact program has been directed to a large extent toward the fields of electronics, electro-process industries and other industries in which low-cost power is an important element.
The region's tremendous hydroelectric power resources coupled with its rich forest, agricultural and mineral resources furnish a sound basis for the belief that the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States will play an important role in the development of new electronic, chemical, and metallurgical industries based on important discoveries made in these fields during the war.
Specific products which Bonneville research indicates can be produced in the Northwest include: phosphorus, manganese bronze, glass containers and glass blocks, sulfuric acid, industrial alcohol, electrolytic iron and other powdered metals, electrolytic zinc, rayon, pigments, dichromate salts for ink, electrolytic manganese, fertilizers, chlorine and acetylene products, tars and phenols, coal and byproducts, limestone, plastic metals, lithium and other rare metals, ferro-alloys, silica sands, battery lead, and litharge.
All of these products have been discussed with industrial representatives, and it is expected that a number of new Northwest plants will be constructed in the near future as a result of these contacts.
Bonneville's industrial contact activities have been instrumental in initiating action on a number of plants already under construction or completed, including the Springfield alcohol plant near Eugene, Oreg., the alcohol plant at Bellingham, Wash., in which use is made of sulfide liquor wastes from the pulp mill in that locality. In the promotion of both of these ventures, the Bonneville Power Administration played a pioneering part.
Development of the Salem, Oreg., aluminą plant was encouraged and its promotion maintained by the Bonneville Power Administration in cooperation with regional interests. Of particular interest are the electric boilers in the plant, an innovation for which Bonneville Power Administration had primary responsibility.
In electrolytic iron, the Administration stimulated the interest of three major companies, one of which is now proceeding with the selection of sites and expects to begin plant construction in the near