Bonneville Power Administration

11/22/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/22/2021 16:38

Five conversation starters for Thanksgiving dinner

Whether your dinner conversation slows to a tryptophan-induced crawl or you need to distract your family from high-tension debates over dessert, here are five conversation prompts to keep the dialog flowing this Thanksgiving.

Waistlines aren't the only things that expand on Thanksgiving. On this day, the region's normal pattern of energy use peaks earlier than normal as millions of Northwest residents gather to cook using ovens and other appliances. Energy use also dips below normal later in the day when post-celebration activities wrap up and food comas set in. Learn more about this Thanksgiving-specific energy anomaly that BPA experts have nicknamed "the turkey bulge."

Your energy is cleaner than that of your relatives back east. Dams in the Columbia River Basin produce more electricity than any other North American river, and our energy is among the cleanest in the nation due to the carbon-free nature of hydropower. Depending on your Northwest utility, hydropower provides up to 87 percent of your electricity, making the CO2 emissions of many community-owned utilities dramatically lower than the regional and national average. Learn about the clean energy benefits of hydropower.

There's river water in your Thanksgiving dinner. Here in the Northwest, we love our local produce. But did you know that nearly 8 million acres of farmland owes its existence to the irrigation benefits provided by hydroelectric dams? From the pumpkins and wheat in your pie, to the wine in your glass, there's a good chance much of your Thanksgiving fruits and vegetables were irrigated with water from the region's rivers. This once-arid land produces about half of the nation's vegetables and 25 percent of its fruits and nuts. Learn more about the various benefits of dams.

You had more help making dinner than you realized. From refrigerators and blenders to microwaves and electric ovens, chances are you used a lot of electricity to make dinner. Ensuring the reliability of the power needed to cool, heat and prepare your Thanksgiving dinner is the role of unsung heroes who are working not only on this holiday, but in shifts around the clock, 365 days a year. From the hydropower operators who maintain a delicate balance of energy demand and supply, to the transmission dispatchers and crews that maintain the integrity of the electric grid, numerous highly trained and skilled workers are toiling away behind the scenes day and night to make sure you have power when you need it. Learn more about energy reliability.

Thanksgiving snow helps fuel your summer. Winter sports enthusiasts aren't the only ones excited about the snow forecast for the Northwest this Thanksgiving week. Where you see snow sport opportunities, we see fuel. The water that powers the region's hydroelectric dams comes from rain and snow that falls further upstream within the Columbia River Basin - a vast area that begins in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, and flows through Montana, Idaho, northwest Wyoming, Washington and Oregon. Water held in the snowpack is critical to ensuring enough fuel is available to meet the region's energy demands in the spring and summer. Learn more about the important role of snowpack in hydropower.