Northwest Hydropower News

Judge rejects feds’ Columbia River salmon plan, calls for a rewrite

By Kelly House

A federal judge has ruled for the fourth time that the U.S. government’s plan to recover salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River basin fails to address the federal hydropower dams’ effect on fish.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon on Wednesday gave the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration two years to write a new plan that does more to protect fish. Read more

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Spokane Tribe will study salmon habitat above Grand Coulee Dam

By Becky Kramer
Spokesman Review

The Spokane Tribe of Indians has received $200,000 to study whether salmon would thrive above Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council approved the funding last week for the habitat assessment. The work is part of an investigation into whether salmon and steelhead could be successfully reintroduced above the tall dams, which were built without fish ladders decades ago. Read More

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Salmon habitat preparation delayed for Yale Reservoir

By Al Thomas
The Columbian

State and federal fishery officials, along with PacifiCorp, have agreed to delay the preparation of Yale Reservoir and its tributaries for the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead.

PacifiCorp’s federal license to operate Merwin, Yale and Swift hydroelectric dams on the North Fork of the Lewis River calls for the utility to have a downstream fish passage facility at Yale Dam operational by June 26, 2021.

The settlement agreement between PacifiCorp and the fish agencies, Forest Service, Indian tribes and local governments also requires a “habitat preparation plan’’ beginning five years prior to fish passage. Read more

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Hydropower STEM Career Academy in June at Rocky Reach Dam

femalehardhatStudents who will be entering grades 9 through 12 are invited to register for a week of fun and learning June 20 to 24 at the FWEE Hydropower and STEM Career Academy at Rocky Reach Dam.

The academy, which is sponsored by the Foundation for Water and Energy Education (FWEE) and host partner Chelan County PUD, focuses on hydropower careers that require science, technology, engineering and mathematic skills (STEM).

“Nationally, one-third of utility employees will retire in the next 10 years,” said Debbie Gallaher, Rocky Reach Visitor Center Supervisor, “We’d like to show local students the high quality, good paying jobs that could be part of their future.”

Those attending the academy will learn how hydropower is generated at dams on the Columbia River and distributed throughout the region. During the academy, hydropower professionals, including engineers, divers, plant mechanics, operators and linemen, will conduct tours and hands-on activities to highlight the importance of their work. Students will also receive instruction and advice on how to prepare for a career in the exciting field of power generation and delivery.

These important and well-paying STEM careers are available throughout the region.  High school counselors, college advisors and mentors will be on hand to identify the prerequisites and academic achievement needed to pursue these and related careers.

The academy is open to students from a four-county area: Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan, who are entering grades 9 through 12 (space permitting).  Registration for the five-day event is $175 per student with some scholarships available. For those traveling more than one hour, a host family option is being made available.

For more information and the application, go to  Applications need to be postmarked no later than May 3, 2016.

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States, federal agencies will seek removal of Klamath dams

By Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press
Seattle Times

Oregon, California, the federal government and others have agreed to go forward with a plan to remove four hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest without approval from a reluctant Congress, a spokesman for dam owner PacifiCorp said Monday.

The dam removal is part of an announcement planned Wednesday in Klamath, Calif., by the governors of both states and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Read more

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Web Resources Connect Students to Energy Career Paths

With “boomers” retiring at a very fast pace, quality wage employment jobs in new and traditional sectors of the energy world are booming. The diversity of opportunity is extraordinary: linemen, natural resource managers, engineers, customer service representatives, plant operators, and more.

Career focuses can vary from being technical, analytic, physical, or written. Some require being in the field while others are more office-centric. And there is just as much educational diversity needed, including certifications, two year degrees, apprenticeship programs, and four-year degrees.

Connecting students to these careers, however, is a challenge. And experts from both the academic and human resource world agree that thinking about options early is the best strategy a student can take.

This issue of FWEE Press focuses on three web resources teachers, parents and students can use to explore these possibilities.

Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy
Click here for the Interactive SMART Grid Career Map offered by The Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy (PNCECE), a Centralia College Partnership that includes a consortium of Northwest utilities, universities, government agencies and organized labor.

Environmental Science
Click here to explore a myriad of options in environmental science.

Careers in Environmental Science are so varied that that a person could be doing desk work, field work, or some combination thereof. The energy sector is fertile ground for those interested in environmental science careers. Often there is a blend of STEM, physical, and communication skills needed.

The Center for Energy Workforce Development
Click here for career pathways in specific energy industries (e.g.—natural gas) and trades (e.g.—linemen).

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Study: Farms, hydropower at risk in West’s changing climate

By Dan Elliott, Associated Press
Seattle Times

Climate change could upset the complex interplay of rain, snow and temperature in the West, hurting food production, the environment and electrical generation at dams, the federal government warned Tuesday. Read more

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Washington tidal power license surrendered

By Todd Griset
JDSUPRA Business Advisor

U.S. hydropower regulators have accepted a Washington public utility district’s application to surrender its license for an unconstructed tidal power project.

Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington was the licensee for the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project No. 12690.  The hydrokinetic energy project was to be located on the east side of Admiralty Inlet in Puget Sound, about 0.6 mile west of Whidbey Island. Project works were to consist of two 300-kilowatt OpenHydro tidal turbines, each mounted on a triangular subsea base, adaptable monitoring devices, trunk cables extending from each turbine to an onshore cable termination vault, and transformers and other facilities connecting to Puget Sound Energy’s electrical distribution system.  Read more.

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Lamprey found above Condit Dam site on White Salmon River

By Tammy Ayer
Yakima Herald

Pacific lamprey, an ancient native fish with notable cultural and ecological significance, have returned to the White Salmon River above the former site of Condit Dam.

The fact that the lamprey have been found above the former dam location signals an important step forward in habitat restoration, lamprey conservation and partnership in the Columbia River Basin, officials with the Yakama Nation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said in a news release Friday. Read More

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Conservation can likely meet power needs of Northwest states

By Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press
Spokesman Review

The electricity needs of Northwest states can be met in the next 20 years mostly through conservation efforts, with little need to construct new power plants, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council predicted.

The Portland-based council recently issued its 20-year plan for meeting the energy needs of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Read more.

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