Roll On, Columbia

Posted: January 1, 2021, 7:00 am

Adopted as the official folk song of Washington in 1987, “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” is one of the Columbia River ballads written by Woody Guthrie in 1941.

The words in the chorus proclaim the Columbia River is “turning darkness to dawn,” referring to the electricity generated by the hydropower projects that bring electricity to people’s homes.

We thought our members might like to hear of some other interesting facts. The Columbia River:

  • Is the fourth-largest river in North America
  • Flows for more than 1,200 miles
  • Extends from the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific Ocean
  • Passes through seven states and one Canadian province in the Pacific Northwest
  • Has more than 400 dams that provide clean hydroelectricity, irrigation, and flood control

These hydroelectric projects provide:

  • Up to 80% of the electrical needs in the Northwest
  • 39.7 million acre-feet of storage space for flood control
  • Locks and other infrastructure for navigation of 17 million tons of cargo annually
  • Irrigation for 7.8 million acres of land
  • Recreational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans

We are fortunate in the Northwest to have abundant hydro resources to generate electricity. Hydroelectricity produces zero carbon emissions, helping us provide clean energy to homes and businesses. PenLight buys all its power from the Bonneville Power Administration, which oversees hydroelectric generation.

To learn more about the benefits of Hydropower, visit the Bonneville Power Administration website.