By Becky Kramer
Wind turbines spinning on the Palouse are the final piece of Avista Utilities’ strategy to meet Washington’s new renewable energy standards.
Energy from the 58-turbine Palouse Wind farm, which started operations last year, has pushed the Spokane-based utility over the top. Even with future customer growth, Avista officials say they’ve lined up enough qualifying renewable energy to meet Initiative 937’s requirements through 2020. Read more
Last week, President Obama had a rare moment where he signed legislation passed by both houses in Congress – two bills make it easier to develop small hydropower in the US.
They streamline the process for generating more energy from existing dams, canals and other structures – no new construction required.
The bills are the first significant piece of energy legislation to come out of Congress since the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will further diversify US energy sources. Read more
By Sandi Doughton
RICHLAND — Electric cars account for fewer than 0.05 percent of passenger vehicles in the United States today, but Michael Kintner-Meyer envisions a future where plug-ins rule the roads.
The proliferation of electric cars will bring benefits — like lower tailpipe emissions — but could also create unique headaches, says Kintner-Mayer, who leads a project at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to improve the vehicles and tackle the problems.
Now, he and his colleagues have crafted a solution to the scenario that gives power-grid operators nightmares: The prospect that millions of Americans will get home from work and plug in their cars at the same time.
“It would create havoc,” said Kintner-Meyer. “You could have the lights go out. You could have rolling brownouts.” Read more
By Scott Learn
PARKDALE — As salmon streams go, Hood River faces some unique challenges: glacial gullywashers from Mount Hood, heavy irrigation withdrawals for Oregon’s top fruit orchards and a once hardy population of spring chinook that scientists figure was wiped out four decades ago.
But the Powerdale Dam came down in 2010, improving prospects for young salmon migrating downstream. Investment in the basin has spiked, part of a 2008 accord between four Columbia River tribes and the Bonneville Power Administration.
And early signs are that Hood River spring chinook, which biologists from The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Oregon officials are trying to restore, may be gaining a more secure foothold. Read more
Bonners Ferry News
U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and John Barrasso (R-WY) on Friday praised the Senate’s unanimous passage of the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act.”
The bill, which already passed the House of Representatives this past April, authorizes the Bureau of Reclamation hydropower development on nearly 47,000 miles of federal canals throughout the West. This will help create jobs in rural communities across the country and provide America with a cheap and clean source of electricity.
“One of the best sources of renewable, clean, energy is hydroelectric,” said Risch. “Signing this bill into law will allow further modernization of conventional water canals, conduit piping, and irrigation ditches with new conduit hydropower technology, thereby expanding hydropower technology in Idaho and other western states. This bill will streamline federal bureaucracy and eliminate red tape. It will also provide great opportunities for Idaho canal companies and irrigation districts to expand agriculture projects, create new jobs, and generate new clean energy. I eagerly await this bill becoming law.”
“Hydropower developers will soon have the certainty they need to create rural jobs and lower electricity prices for American families,” said Barrasso. “Wyoming and other states with many potential Bureau of Reclamation sites will now be able to fully embrace hydropower’s potential. I encourage the President to sign this bill into law immediately. Congress must also continue to come together remove more Washington red tape and clear the way for more American energy development.”
The “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act” will now be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Read article online