By: Jeff Mapes
Could a small electrical cooperative in eastern Oregon up-end the state’s renewable energy law?
That’s the question being asked as the Umatilla Electric Cooperative essentially tells legislators: Fix the renewable energy standards to satisfy our concerns or we’ll put an initiative on the ballot that largely guts the law.
Steve Eldrige, the co-op’s general manager, portrayed the initiative as the only way Umatilla could get the attention of state lawmakers and big energy players.
“They wouldn’t even talk to us until we started getting the signatures” for a ballot measure, he said.
The initiative would considerably ease renewable energy standards by allowing the region’s massive hydropower dams to count toward meeting the requirements. Read more
By: Becky Kramer
Last weekend’s doozy of a storm followed a classic Northwest weather script.
Winds gusting to 40 mph blew moisture-rich air from the ocean into the Cascades and Northern Rockies, dumping snow on the mountains while leaving lower elevations bare.
The winds – called “winter westerlies” – are vital to a region that depends on mountain snowpack for its water supply. But a new study suggests that climate change is disrupting the winds, with stark implications for future water availability.
“Those winds are being slowed down by climate change,” said Charlie Luce, a research hydrologist at the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise. That means fewer storms will reach the mountains, or smaller water droplets will drift over the peaks as fog instead of falling as snow, he said.
Either scenario would mean additional headaches for Northwest policymakers preparing for an altered climate. Read more