By: Benjamin Romano
The Pacific Northwest has a burgeoning clean energy industry, underpinned by strong public research institutions, active angel investors, and an environmental ethos that’s part of the culture. But leaders in the field argue that the region could do more if it united behind a few key areas where it could be the best in the country.
“What do we want to be known for?” asked Jud Virden, associate director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, during the Washington Clean Technology Alliance showcase event in Seattle Monday.
Washington and the broader Pacific Northwest already have leading positions in energy efficiency, smart grid, and biofuels development, particularly for the aviation industry. Now, the state is emerging as a key technology development and testing hub for large-scale energy storage systems, with some big steps forward on that front expected later this summer. Read more
By: Rob Davis
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans Thursday to shoot and kill 16,000 double-crested cormorants on an island near the Columbia River’s mouth starting next spring, in an effort to improve survival of endangered juvenile salmon and steelhead.
The cormorants, black seabirds increasingly nesting on East Sand Island, feed on juvenile fish swimming out to the Pacific Ocean. They’ve been eating those migrating smolts in growing numbers, enough that scientists say it’s impacting the species’ survival rates.
The Army Corps, which manages hydropower dams throughout the Northwest, aims to kill about 20 percent of the cormorant population on East Sand Island each year. Read more
A sweeping new White House plan to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s energy supply may have less impact on Washington than almost every other state. But that’s because the country is just now catching up.
By: Craig Welch
The Seattle Times
You could argue that Washington had it easier all along, with abundant rivers that provide cheap hydropower and an economy that didn’t depend on coal.
You wouldn’t be wrong.
Back in 2000, West Virginia, with half as many people, produced four times more carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity generation as Washington — almost all of it from that state’s politically powerful, jobs-producing coal industry.
While even West Virginia burns far more natural gas than it once did, its total CO2 emissions have merely stayed the same. Washington’s emissions during the same time dropped more than 20 percent and just keep falling.
In fact, Washington has made so much progress weaning itself from coal-fired energy that our state may well meet the Obama administration’s new climate goals by doing little more than maintaining the status quo. Read more