Friday, January 31, 2014
(ONALASKA, WA) Residents in the Onalaska area will soon have access to broadband internet service. It’s part of a stimulus-funded project. TDS Telecommunications says the project is part of its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project to expand broadband internet service in rural areas. The service is now available to some residents west of Onalaska. Nearly 10 miles of fiber optics cable is being installed and six cabinets which protect the network electronics are being placed throughout their McDaniel Telephone Company service area. TDS says when the project is completed in the spring the project should wrap up this spring nearly 600 residents around Onalaska and Salkum will have access to a high-speed internet connection.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
Public Power Council Statement on Appointment of Elliot Mainzer as Administrator of BPA
(PORTLAND, OR) -- The Public Power Council (PPC) commented today on the appointment of the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
“Elliot has the skills to lead BPA into the future,” said Scott Corwin, Executive Director of the Public Power Council, which represents consumer-owned electric utilities and their ratepayers across the region who rely on the transmission and clean hydropower marketed by BPA.
“It is helpful to see BPA moving toward stability,” noted Corwin. “This is a useful step, and Elliot will have a good team working with him.”
“PPC looks forward to continuing to work well with him in his new capacity on the many challenges facing our industry,” Corwin said.
The Bonneville Power Administration is a critical part of the region’s economic base, providing power and transmission from the Federal Columbia River Power System throughout the Northwest.
PPC represents Pacific Northwest consumer-owned utilities on issues related to the Federal Columbia River Power System.
U-S Senator Murray Applauds DOE Decision to Name Elliot Mainzer BPA Administrator
Mainzer first joined BPA in 2002, currently serves as Acting Administrator
(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) decision to name Elliot Mainzer Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Mainzer, who currently serves as Acting Administrator, first joined BPA in 2002 and has served in several previous management positions, including Deputy Administrator.
“Now, more than ever, BPA needs strong leadership, and I’m pleased that Elliot Mainzer has been promoted to serve as Administrator of this critical agency,” said Senator Murray. “Like everyone, I’ve been extremely concerned by findings of illegal hiring practices at BPA, but I’m confident that Elliot has the ability to correct those issues and continue working closely with DOE while protecting BPA’s unique authority to provide reliable, low-cost power for the Northwest.”
Friday, January 24, 2014
Over Heated Dissent, Ninth Circuit Rejects Rehearing in Low Carbon Fuel Standards Challenge, Setting Up Possible Supreme Court Commerce Clause Showdown (GTH Energy & Natural Resources Law Blog)
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Mini Nuclear Power Plants in Washington State’s Future? “…’It gives us an opportunity to educate consumers in our state about nuclear power,’ said Debbie Harris of the Franklin County Public Utility District…’ (Crosscut Seattle)
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Announces 2013-14 Board of Directors - Experienced energy efficiency leaders tapped to help guide regional collaboration (PR NewsWire)
Friday, January 17, 2014
NOAA Fisheries submits to the Court that protective measures are getting the job done for the region’s iconic fish
(PORTLAND, OR) -- After more than two years of additional work and analysis to strengthen their case, NOAA Fisheries has reaffirmed that measures in the federal salmon plan are working to protect and restore salmon populations in the Columbia Basin. The plan – called the Biological Opinion (BiOp) – is without a doubt the most comprehensive and expensive plan to protect an endangered species in the nation, and likely the world. Today NOAA Fisheries, the agency in charge of salmon protection, submitted the BiOp to U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, which will decide its merits.
NOAA’s conclusion is clear: The plan is benefitting listed salmon now and will continue to protect them well into the future. Highlights include:
- $1.6 billion invested in new technologies at all eight federal dams and operational changes is helping young salmon survive at very high rates and helping adults return to their spawning grounds.
- An unprecedented and massive program that has restored more than 10,000 acres of habitat in the Columbia Basin is already showing results.
“More than one million Fall Chinook salmon returned to spawn last year, the highest numbers since Bonneville Dam opened in 1938,” said Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners. “And the plan has worked to bring sockeye back from the brink of extinction.”
An earlier version of the BiOp was sent back to the federal action agencies by U.S. District Judge James Redden in 2011, who asked for more assurance that the plans to restore habitat for 13 runs of ESA-listed salmon and steelhead would deliver anticipated benefits. So the agencies (BPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation) reexamined the plan and the progress that has been made over the last decade.
Despite the salmon plan’s demonstrated progress, environmental and commercial fishing groups are expected to continue to block the plan in court, as they have done for nearly two decades.
“Lawsuits are these groups’ bread and butter, and they will continue to sue – no matter what the facts say,” Flores said. “They are bent on removing the federal dams, no matter how well the salmon are doing, so it’s simply not in their interest to acknowledge the tremendous progress being made.”
In fact, the litigants continue to press for radical changes in dam operations, including a ten-year “experiment” to dramatically increase “spill” through dams that would violate state and federal water quality standards established to protect salmon and other aquatic organisms and would significantly increase energy costs for Northwest families and businesses.
“It also would remove several hundred megawatts of clean renewable hydropower that fuels our economy and protects our environment,” Flores said. “This radical spill proposal makes no sense – until you understand that their ultimate goal is to reduce the cost-effectiveness of the federal hydro system in order to make the case for dam removal.”
With the BiOp, the goal of the federal agencies is to protect the region’s iconic fish. NOAA’s submittal of the salmon plan to the court starts a legal process that could last up to a year. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon will set the litigation schedule and hear the parties’ arguments before deciding on the plan’s adequacy.
Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of utilities, ports, farmers & businesses joined in promoting clean renewable hydropower & salmon restoration policies based in sound science. nwrp.org.
NOAA Fisheries Employs Sound Science to Help Salmon - Public Power Council Comments on Supplemental BiOp Release (Public Power Council, Portland, OR)
(PORTLAND, OR) -- Today, NOAA Fisheries released the latest iteration of the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion (FCRPS BiOp), the plan that manages the Columbia and Snake Rivers to protect 13 salmon and steelhead populations listed under the Endangered Species Act. This plan continues to utilize the best available science to protect Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead on a working Columbia River power and navigation system.
“This updated salmon plan continues on the path of progress seen over the past decade,” said Scott Corwin, Executive Director of the Public Power Council, which represents consumer-owned electric utilities and their ratepayers across the region who rely on the clean hydropower produced by this system.
The updated BiOp meets the U.S. District Court’s requirement that NOAA submit an amended plan that specifies additional habitat actions. NOAA also found that the 2008 BiOp has yielded positive results. Salmon passage rates at the dams is very high, more than 10,000 acres of fish habitat is being enhanced and protected, and hundreds of miles of new stream access is now available. The fruits of these labors have led to the highest salmon returns in over 75 years.
“The region’s electric utility ratepayers are funding most of this massive effort, so it is good to see that it is working effectively to meet the fish survival goals,” said Scott Corwin, Executive Director of the Public Power Council.
The Federal Columbia River Power System BiOp is the most comprehensive and costly effort in the nation to protect ESA-listed species.
The Public Power Council represents Pacific Northwest consumer-owned utilities on issues related to the Federal Columbia River Power System.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
(CHEHALIS, WA) -- Electricity rates could be going up for Lewis County PUD customers. PUD is proposing an increase that would see the monthly bill go up by about $6 for customers using 1,100 kilowatt hours a month. The proposed rate increase is a result of Bonneville Power Administration’s increase in wholesale rates to utilities in October 2013. If Lewis county PUD approves the rate increase, it would begin March 1, 2014. PUD is holding public hearings on January 28 in Chehalis and on February 4 in Morton on the proposed rate increase.