Thursday, December 29, 2016

Worst Cold Snap in Two Years Could Hit Puget Sound Next Week (KCPQ-TV, Seattle/Tacoma, WA)

Court Rules Washington State’s Lawsuit Against Comcast Can Move Forward (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Puget Sound Fishing Season Decision Process May Change (KING-TV, Seattle, WA)

Shutty Sworn in as Mason County’s Newest Commissioner (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Three Shelton Moms, Including Two Mason PUD 3 Employees, Fight Hunger (Mason County Life, Shelton, WA)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Avista Ready to Appeal Rejection of Higher Rates for Electricity & Natural Gas (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Alcoa Pays Chelan PUD $8 Million for Year-Long Curtailment (Wenatchee World, WA)

FERC Rejects Montana Decision to Suspend PURPA Rates for Small Solar Farms (Utility Dive)

Monitors Say Early Oregon Snowpack Levels Are Strong (Associated Press)

Mason PUD 3 Commissioners Sell Downtown Shelton Building for Mental Health Treatment Center (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Columbia Generating Station Shuts Down Unexpectedly Sunday (Associated Press)

Environmentalists Rip Portland General Electric on New Natural Gas Plant Possibility (Portland Business Journal, OR)

British Columbia: Local Politicians Travel to Ottawa for Columbia River Treaty Discussions (Nelson Star, BC)

Lower Returns Than Last Year Expected for Spring/Summer Chinook, Sockeye (Columbia Basin Bulletin)

Warmer, Windy, Wet Weather Awaits This Week (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Columbia Generating Station offline (Energy Northwest, Tri-Cities, WA)

(RICHLAND, WA) – A Bonneville Power Administration cold-weather related transmission event led to a Columbia Generating Station reactor scram – safe shutdown of the reactor – at 11:24 a.m. today. Equipment malfunctioned at the nearby Ashe Substation, resulting in loss of the 500 kilovolt line connecting the plant’s main output transformers to the substation.

In response, Columbia’s output breakers properly opened to separate the plant from any potential grid transients. Columbia’s operating crew successfully stabilized the plant.

“It’s unfortunate that this happened while we were on our way to closing out what still may be a record generation year,” said Bob Schuetz, plant general manager at Columbia. “The plant remains safe, and we anticipate being back on the grid once we have more thoroughly reviewed what caused the BPA transmission event.”

All of Columbia’s electricity is sold at cost to BPA. Ninety-two Northwest utilities receive a percentage of its output.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Avista Denied Washington Rate Hike for 2017 (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Cascade Natural Gas Agrees to $2.5 M Penalty for Pipeline Safety Violations (KNDO/KNDU-TV, Tri-Cities, WA)

Changes Proposed for Lower Columbia Salmon, Steelhead Hatcheries (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

How Oregon Became a Top Ten U-S Solar State (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Nineteen Arrests, Including Four from Mason County, In Drug Ring – 44 Pounds of Meth Seized (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Benton/Franklin County PUDs Declare December 15 National Hydropower Appreciation Day

(PASCO, WA) – The Pacific Northwest’s hydropower legacy received a boost with the declaration of December 15 as “Hydropower Appreciation Day” in Benton and Franklin Counties.

The two public utility district commissions approved resolutions celebrating the Columbia and Snake River’s hydro system.

“Benton PUDs customers receive about 78 percent of their electricity from hydroelectric dams,” said Lori Sanders, commission president. “The Northwest today is an oasis of clean, carbon free, renewable energy -  the result of its hydro heritage.  The dams on the Columbia River and its tributaries produce more electricity than any other North American river and account for 40 percent of all U.S. hydropower. The four lower Snake River dams include some of the most advanced and successful fish passage systems in the world.”

“Along with carbon-free energy, the Columbia and Snake River hydro system provides low-carbon transport of tens of millions of dollars of farm goods and manufactured products through an efficient barging system,” said Roger Wright, Franklin PUD commission president. “Irrigation has made eastern Washington State boom with an amazing array of agricultural bounty. The system of dams and locks also provides flood control, keeping our homes and cities safe from high waters.”

Hydroelectricity is the crown jewel that makes renewable power sources like wind and solar work in the Pacific Northwest. Hydropower can be called on at a moment’s notice to fill in the gaps when there isn’t enough wind or sun to generate electricity. Clean, reliable and renewable energy is the reason big companies like Google, BMW, REC Silicon and others have located operations in our region. This helps reduce their carbon footprint, save money on operations, and raise their status among their competitors.

The two PUDs also reaffirmed their support for continuing efforts to balance the benefit of hydropower with the responsibility of protecting, improving, and sustaining fish and wildlife that are dependent on the Columbia and Snake River’s ecosystem.

Benton PUD and Franklin PUD are members of Northwest River Partners, an alliance of farmers, utilities, ports and businesses that promote the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake rivers; fish and wildlife policies and programs based on sound science; and clean, renewable, reliable hydropower.  Fast facts on why hydropower should be celebrated can be found at:

Federal ‘Special Inspection’ Begins at Columbia Generating Station (Northwest Public Radio)

Bitter Cold, Some Lowland Snow on Tap This Week in Western Washington State (KCPQ-TV, Seattle/Tacoma, WA)

California Firm Chosen to Investigate Waste-to-Energy Incident That Critically Injured Two Workers (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Peace River Dam Project Forces Expropriation of British Columbia Family Farm This Spring (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Bald Eagles Removed as a “Sensitive Species” in Washington State (KXRO Radio, Aberdeen, WA)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Lawmakers, U-S Department of Energy Probe Western Area Power Administration Spending (Utility Dive)

Hells Canyon Complex – Idaho Utility Seeks to Negate Oregon Fish Passage Law (Associated Press)

Some Building Halted as Washington State Counties React to Water Rights Case (Associated Press)

Canada’s $7 Billion Peace River Dam Tests the Limits of State Power (NY Times)

Seattle’s Cloud-Computing Boom Is New Force Helping to Drive Washington Economy (Associated Press)

Wind Power - U-S Fish & Wildlife Service Readies Final Eagle Take Rule (Politico Morning Edition)

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected this week to issue its final rule extending the period in which wind projects can be permitted to injure or kill protected eagles from five years to 30 years, according to industry sources.

The permits protect companies from being sued for the bird deaths so long as they follow certain mitigation and reporting requirements. An earlier version of the rule was overturned by a court in 2015 because the agency did not perform an environmental impact statement. FWS issued its final programmatic EIS on the rule in November and comments on it were due Friday.

Thus far, the service has only issued two five-year permits but it could soon grant two more under the current regulations.

FWS on Friday issued its final EIS to grant two proposed eagle take permits - one for construction and another for project operations over five years - to the Power Company of Wyoming, which plans to build 500 wind turbines in southern Wyoming by 2020. During construction of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy Project, the permit would allow developers to injure up to two bald eagles and eight golden eagles annually. Depending on which size turbine blade the developer picks, FWS estimated the project itself could kill one to two bald eagles and 10 to 14 golden eagles annually.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Canada Poised to Implement Carbon Price by 2018 (Utility Dive)

Lewis PUD Approves $74.6 Million Budget for 2017 (Lewis County PUD, Chehalis, WA)

(CHEHALIS, WA) – Lewis County PUD Commissioners have approved a budget of $74.6 million for 2017. The budget includes a balloon payment of $6.4 million on bonds purchased to satisfy the acquisition of wind power as mandated by Initiative 937 ten years ago. The budget also anticipates increased power costs to the district from the Bonneville Power Administration. The power costs of the district make up over two thirds of the total budget expense.

These additional costs will cause the district to have a budget deficiency of approximately $1.2 million that will drive the need for a rate increase to customers in 2017. A cost of service analysis is currently being conducted by an outside consulting firm to determine the amount of rate increase that is needed. That whole process will begin with public rate hearings.

Lewis County PUD will also see savings in 2017 and for the next 11 years by refinancing other bonds that were issued in 2008. The new bond reduces the interest rate from 5.00 percent to 2.08 percent interest and results in a total savings of nearly $3 million dollars. The savings will be $575 thousand in 2017 and $264 thousand each year from 2019 through 2027.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside Taking Its Toll on Newcastle Residents (Newcastle News, WA)

Oregon Governor Leaves Solar Tax Credits Out of 2017-19 Budget Proposal (Utility Dive)

Grant Boosts Effort to Dismantle Yakima’s Nelson Dam (Yakima Herald Republic, WA)

Op/Ed: Removing Snake River Dams Would Be Unwise (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Google Says It Will Reach 100% Renewable Energy for Global Operations Next Year (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bonneville Power Administration Senior Vice President Mark Gendron to Retire (Bonneville Power Administration)

(PORTLAND, OR) – Senior Vice President of Power Services Mark Gendron announced that he will retire from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in March 2017.

Gendron is responsible for BPA’s power scheduling functions, generation asset management, power contracts and rates, power purchases and acquisitions, energy efficiency and the business relationships with BPA’s retail utility customers. Power Services produces revenues of nearly $3 billion per year from the sale of about 11,000 average megawatts of power.

“Mark has been an incredibly valuable member of the BPA executive team, blessed with an acute sensitivity to the needs of our customers and a personal style and grace that has touched all who have worked with him,” said Elliot Mainzer, BPA administrator and chief executive officer. “I will miss his even keel and wise counsel and wish him and his wife Loraine many happy years of retirement.”

Prior to serving in his current role, Gendron was vice president of Northwest Requirements Marketing, responsible for marketing and contracting the sale of requirements power to BPA customers.

Gendron has also served on committees and boards for a variety of public power organizations over the years including the Idaho Consumer-Owned Utilities Association, Idaho Energy Authority and Public Power Council.

“As a leader coming from public power, Mark brought important insight and talent to BPA that will be difficult to replace,” said Scott Corwin, executive director of PPC. “He has taken on some of the agency’s biggest challenges, but has remained a good friend and a highly respected colleague who will be missed throughout the industry when he retires.”

Gendron came to BPA from Idaho Falls Power where he was the general manager for 10 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado and began his career as a design engineer. He worked for various utility and engineering companies in the West before joining Idaho Falls Power in 1985 as chief engineer.

“I have been fortunate and blessed to have capped off my career at the Bonneville Power Administration, where I have had the privilege every day of working with great people committed to delivering on our mission that is so important to the people of the Northwest,” said Gendron.

The lead time on Gendron’s announcement will allow the agency to conduct the federal selection process and provide a brief overlap period before his departure. BPA will soon post a vacancy announcement for the next senior vice president of Power Services, a Senior Executive Service position.

Is Snow in Seattle’s Forecast? (KIRO Broadcasting, Seattle, WA)

Avista Looks to Cover Windstorm Costs with Higher Rates in 2017 (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Washington Wheat Growers Oppose Breaching Snake Dams (Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake, WA)

Wind Advocates Challenge Energy Transmission Fee on Montana Green Energy (Billings Gazette, MT)

Op/Ed: Time for Washington State to Lead on Climate Change (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Monday, November 28, 2016

In New Case, World Trade Organization Rules Against Washington State’s Tax Breaks for Boeing 777X Plants (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Lines – Agency Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement Ahead of Final Decision (Argus Observer, Ontario, OR)

Washington State: Where Marijuana Plants Flourish Under Energy-Saving LED Lights (NY Times)

Oregon Solar Industry Calls Residential Energy Tax Credit Extension Top 2017 Priority (Portland Business Journal, OR)

California Today: Fretting Over the ‘Netflix Tax’ (NY Times)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bonneville Power Administration Expecting Big Turkey Bulge in Electricity Use on Thanksgiving (Bonneville Power Administration)

(PORTLAND, OR) – Bonneville Power Administration operators are prepared for the energy anomaly that they see every Thanksgiving Day. They have planned for an unusual bulge, or peak, in the morning as millions of people across the Pacific Northwest gather to cook meals, which rely heavily on the use of ovens and other appliances. After the big meal, system operators will be on hand to ramp power down during the tryptophan drop off.

“Most of the year, electricity usage follows typical seasonal patterns but severe weather and special events can always present different, even dramatically different, realities,” said Elliot Mainzer, BPA’s administrator and chief executive officer. 

On a typical November weekday, BPA’s regional load sees two peaks – one in the morning and one in the evening. But on Thanksgiving we see a different pattern emerge. Unlike a typical morning where the most electricity usage peaks around 7 or 8 a.m., Thanksgiving ramps up at 9 a.m. as people cook their turkeys and pies. Power consumption on Thanksgiving then tends to stay up higher throughout the morning compared to a normal day when loads drop off in the middle of the day. When Thanksgiving loads start to wane, they stay low for the rest of the day, as cooking is done and the tryptophan sets in, rather than increasing again to an evening peak as they would on normal weekdays.

BPA and other utilities around the Northwest keep watch on the electricity consumption of the region’s consumers day and night, 365 days a year. They ensure that there is enough output from power plants, which BPA provides mainly from renewable hydropower, and transmission available to keep the lights on. BPA’s power and transmission system experts carefully watch weather and special events that can impact electricity usage and line crews are available around the clock in case any of the over 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission lines go down.

“This is a time of year we are even more thankful for the many men and women across the Northwest, at utilities big and small, who work diligently to keep power flowing so the rest of us can enjoy our holiday traditions,” said Mainzer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Heavy Mountain Snows Ahead (Cliff Mass Weather Blog)

People Passionate About Saving Snake River Dams (Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA)

People Passionate About Saving Snake River Dams (Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA)

Mason PUD 3 – Financial Management, Load Growth to Keep Local Electricity Prices Stable into 2017 (Mason PUD 3, Shelton, WA)

Washington State Carbon Capture Project Says It Has Permanently Sequestered Carbon Dioxide (Utility Dive)

Several Cities Convert to LED Street Lights in Conservation Efforts (National Public Radio)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Federal Agencies Listen to Concerns & Suggestions on Lower Snake River Dams (KLEW-TV, Lewiston, ID)

NW Power & Conservation Council Hears Report On Best Ways to Pass Salmonids Above High Head Dams Such as Grand Coulee (Columbia Basin Bulletin)

Facebook Is America’s Favorite Media Product – It’s equivalent to 1.5 Super Bowls happening every day, audience-wise (Atlantic Magazine)

Move Over, Booze: 2016 Is a Milestone Year for Sales of Pot in State (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Washington State Budget Outlook Estimates $5 Billion on Education Through 2021 (Associated Press)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Big Crowd Turns Out in Spokane to Talk About Lower Snake River Dams (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Conservation Groups Ask for Changes to Snake River Dams Hearings (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Congressman Newhouse Pushes for Law Protecting Snake River Dams (Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA)

Utah Solar Installer Legend Sees Portland as Ripe Opportunity – Despite The Trees (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Puget Sound Energy Closing in on Tideflats Liquefied Natural Gas Plant Construction Start (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

NRC Commissioner in Running for Energy Secretary (Politico, Morning Energy)

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Kristine Svinicki, the sole Republican on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is in the running for a high-level post at the Energy Department, potentially energy secretary, a source close to the Trump transition team tells ME.
Svinicki, who did not respond to a request for comment, had been widely expected to be tapped to head the NRC under the Trump administration and would face a relatively easier confirmation to another term, once her second term expires in July. 
Harold Hamm, the billionaire CEO of the oil and gas company Continental Resources, has also been reported to be in the running for the position, although he has told his employees he's staying with the company, according to a little-noticed report in the Oklahoman last week.

Monday, November 14, 2016

New Day for Nuclear Waste (Politico Morning Energy)

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Donald Trump's presidential victory, combined with the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, should revive the debate over the long-stalled Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project that has burned through $15 billion over three decades, Pro's Darius Dixon reports. "I'm excited to work with the Trump Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to quickly restore funding to continue the licensing process, as well as pass comprehensive nuclear waste management legislation for his signature," said Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), a leading Yucca backer who's seeking the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

President-elect Trump hasn't yet taken a position on Yucca, but he said last month during a visit to Nevada that he was "going to take a look at it." And that's music to the ears of the project's supporters, who have grown weary of opposition espoused by Hillary Clinton and Reid, who repeatedly pressured his caucus to squeeze Yucca funding out of spending bills. Though support for Yucca is strong, many supporters believe they will need to include the creation of temporary waste storage facilities - like one proposed for a site in Andrews County, Texas - to draw more Democrats off the fence.

Positions on the project do not fall exclusively along party lines. Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is expected to have a tough re-election race in 2018, has vowed to keep fighting the project. Meanwhile, Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the No. 4 Democrat in the Senate, told a dinner hosted by the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council this summer that the next Congress would take on "meaningful nuclear waste reform, which includes a place for Yucca Mountain," according to an attendee.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bonneville Power Administration Rate Proposal Focuses on Cost Management, Maintaining Value (Bonneville Power Administration)

(PORTLAND, OR) – The Bonneville Power Administration today released its initial rate proposal, which will support investments in the Federal Columbia River Power System that provides renewable hydropower to 142 Northwest public utilities. The proposed rates for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 will also support investments to sustain and expand the federal transmission system. BPA is proposing a 3.5 percent average wholesale power rate increase and a 1.1 percent average increase to transmission rates for the two-year rate period.

“These rates represent months of work to reduce budgets and focus on cost-management measures to lower expected rate increases,” said Elliot Mainzer, BPA’s administrator and chief executive officer. “The steps we have taken so far for the 2018-2019 rate period have begun to shift BPA onto a more sustainable rate trajectory and demonstrate our commitment to remaining our customers’ wholesale provider of choice.”

BPA started discussions on expense and capital spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 in June during the Integrated Program Review and Capital Investment Review process. Customers, constituents and stakeholders from around the region participated in the process by taking a thorough look at BPA’s proposed spending levels. BPA has used aggressive cost management, disciplined budgeting practices, operational efficiency and revenue enhancements to lower expected costs in the final spending levels released in October.

The average proposed wholesale power rate is $34.94 per megawatt hour, an increase of 3.5 percent for the rate period, or 1.7 percent annually. About half of the rate increase is due to higher program costs such as the operations and maintenance expenses BPA pays to the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to run the federal hydro facilities, and increased costs of the fish and wildlife program. The other half of the rate increase is due to lower forecast sales due to general regional load loss and a slight reduction in forecast system generation. In addition, many power customers will see a lower proposed rate increase of 2.3 percent due to a one-time credit that was generated from savings created from Regional Cooperation Debt transactions that were initiated in 2014.

Transmission Services was able to minimize spending increases by focusing on mission-critical work and planning investments that provide the greatest benefit to ratepayers, which is reflected in the 1.1 percent average transmission rate increase for the rate period or 0.5 percent annually. BPA believes it will still be able to provide reliable transmission service to its customers and invest in substantial capital projects during the upcoming rate period while delivering a rate increase that is less than the rate of inflation.

BPA is also proposing a new financial reserves policy in this initial rate proposal that will set targets for financial reserves levels. The proposed policy is intended to maintain and strengthen BPA’s financial health, as well as support BPA’s credit rating.

“BPA is committed to working with customers and other constituents to identify additional cost-management alternatives through the IPR 2 process,” said Mainzer. BPA will hold an IPR 2 process in February to discuss a few unresolved cost areas where the greatest potential exists to further reduce near-term spending as BPA continues to focus on cost containment.

The rate-setting process begins in November and will culminate with final rate decisions in July 2017; the new rates will take effect on Oct. 1, 2017.

BPA is a nonprofit federal wholesale utility that receives no congressional appropriations and must recover its costs through its rates. The new rates will affect local retail utilities differently depending on the amount of power and type of services they purchase from BPA. Local utilities ultimately determine the impact of BPA rates on individual businesses and residents. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Ferry County PUD Begins Operation of Solar Electric Vehicle Charging Station (Ferry County PUD, Republic, WA)

(REPUBLIC, WA) -- Ferry County PUD’s new solar EV charging station is in operation. The project has a long history dating back to a “Solar Schools” project about a decade ago. General Manager John Friederichs reports that a piece of faulty equipment from that project was stored in the PUD’s basement until the manufacturer offered to replace it, opening the door to use it for a new purpose.

Friederichs says the PV equipment was from a PUD-owned off-grid system that was removed from service when the customer was connected to the normal distribution grid. The system had originally been paid for through a USDA/RUS grant. The remainder of the new solar PV/charging system includes a used meter base/disconnect purchased off eBay, a meter and related conduit and hardware. The Clipper Creek charger, with a normal retail price of nearly $2,000 was donated by private individuals through Plug-In North Central Washington, a non-profit subsidiary of the North Central Washington Economic Development District. The use of the charger is free to the vehicle owner with Plug-In North Central Washington responsible for picking up the energy cost. 

“The difference with our system lies in the fact that the energy generated by the solar modules feeds into the grid directly which gives a “net-metered” installation of sorts, except that the utility owns the equipment rather than the customer,” said Friederichs. So far the peak output has been just under 1800 watts AC.

As of October 31, Ferry County PUD has put roughly 150 kilowatt hours back into the grid, while providing 13 kWh to recharge a Tesla S (pictured below).  Should the energy used to charge vehicles ever exceed the energy generated during the course of the year, Plug-In NCW will be billed annually for that use; ensuring the PUD at least breaks even.

“We see this as an economic development benefit to our community,” said Friederichs. “When a driver connects a car to our charger, they will be spending a couple of hours in Republic, enjoying a meal or even an overnight stay.”

Early in the planning, Mike Nelson, past director of the WSU Energy Extension Office, referred to Republic as “The missing tooth in the smile of an electrified Highway 20” and he was instrumental in spreading the work about the proposal, which led to the offer of the donated charger. 

One-Third of Washington State Voters Have Cast Ballots (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Mason PUD No. 3’s $7 Million Grid Modernization Project Underway (Kitsap Sun, Bremerton, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Hood Canal Group Eyes Internet Project (Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, WA)

Environmental Groups to Petition Feds for ‘Whale Protection Zone’ Off Part of San Juan Island (KCPQ-TV, Seattle/Tacoma, WA)

Seattle Cannabis Firm Privateer Raises $40 Million for Legal Pot Business (SF Chronicle)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Benton REA OKs Sale to Yakama Nation Utility (Yakima Herald Republic, WA)

Report on Questionable Energy Tax Credits Names Cross-Section of Oregon Companies (Oregonian, Portland)

Carbon-Tax Initiative Foes, Backers Raise Last-Minute Cash (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Southern Oregon Solar Project Lands $21 Million from East Coast Buyer (Portland Business Journal, OR)

Facebook Made $7 Billion Last Quarter & Now Has 1.79 Billion Monthly Users (AdWeek)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Why Natural Gas Supply Will Be Crucial in Preventing Winter Power Outages (Utility Dive)

U-S Owes Six California Wind Farms $206 Million (Courthouse News Service)

Tree-Trimmer Causes Comcast Service Problems in Vancouver (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

City of Tacoma OKs Up to $100,000 For an Independent Look at Click! Cable’s Books (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Shelton City Leaders Get First Look at Proposed 2017 City Budget (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Environmental Effects of Columbia, Snake River Dams Scrutinized (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

News Release: America’s Dams Are in Disrepair; CAP Report Calls for New Thinking on Future of Dam Infrastructure and River Health (Center for American Progress)

No on I-732; Carbon Tax Rough Draft Needs Work (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Homeowners with Solar Chose Generators Over Batteries in Survey (American Public Power Association)

Comcast Ready to Roll Out New Pricing Structure in Washington State (KHQ-TV, Spokane, WA)

Monday, October 17, 2016

What the Heck Went Wrong with the Storm Forecast?!? (KOMO-TV, Seattle, WA)

Irrigators Propose Giant Hydroelectric Project at Banks Lake Near Grand Coulee Dam (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, WA)

Puget Sound Energy Trades in Gas, Electricity, Political Clout (Northwest Public Radio)

Washington Energy Agency Overestimated Carbon Tax Impacts on Power Prices (Utility Dive – “only 5.3 percent?” These guys have obviously not had the pleasure of a customer blasting them over a three percent increase)

Northwest Utilities Amp Up New Business Line of Charging Electric Cars (Northwest Public Radio)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Screen Captures for Wednesday and Saturday

Remnants of Typhoon Will Make for Wild Seattle Weather This Weekend (KIRO Broadcasting, Seattle, WA)

Smell Test: Will Initiative 732 Carbon Tax Spike Household Electricity Costs? (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Oregon & Washington State Offer Top Tax Breaks to Data Centers, Report Finds (Oregonian, Portland)

Hurricane Matthew: Substations, Transmission Lines Remain Source of Major Outages (Florence News & Review, SC)

Political Tornado Swirls in District That Could Determine Control of Washington State House (Northwest Public Radio)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Take Out the Dams? Congressional Candidates Jayapal & Walkinshaw Wade in a Bit Unprepared (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Seattle Blows Off Wells Fargo on $100 Million City Light Bond Financing (Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA)

Muni Broadband: Can Tacoma Make Electric Customers Pay for a Bigger, Better Click? (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Report: Mason County Marijuana Sales Soar in a Year (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Could Washington State Pave the Way for Carbon Taxes? (Christian Science Monitor)

Friday, October 7, 2016

U-S Ready to Start Talks on Columbia River Treaty (U-S Senator Maria Cantwell)

Hurricane Matthew: Some 600,000 Florida Homes without Power Due to Storm (Reuters)

Washington State Carbon-Tax Initiative Pencils Out Nicely for Boeing (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Pumped Hydro: Oregon to Transform Lakes into Batteries to Charge Electricity Grid (PBS Newshour)

Fall Chinook Run Size Downgraded for Fourth Straight Week – Early Run Coho Far Below Average (Columbia Basin Bulletin)

U-S Ready to Start Talks on Columbia River Treaty (U-S Senator Maria Cantwell)

Conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry is the culmination of years-long effort
State Department finalizes C-175, authorizing talks with Canada

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Today, in a call with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States is ready to start talks with Canada on the Columbia River Treaty. The call comes just hours after the State Department finalized Circular 175, authorizing talks with Canada to modernize the treaty.  Cantwell has for years been urging the State Department to begin the negotiation process.

Updating the Columbia River Treaty will present exciting new economic opportunities for Washington State, as well as providing a new focus on protecting the river’s ecosystem and addressing flood control.

The U.S. and Canada will work together to find win-win solutions to manage the river, looking to cooperate on critical clean energy solutions such as smart grids with intermittent power, grid-scale storage, and clean infrastructure. The Treaty has not been updated since it was first ratified in 1964.

The government of Canada had refused to begin talks until the U.S. finalized its negotiating parameters, which are laid out in a document called a Circular 175.

"The United States is officially ready to move forward on negotiating a new Columbia River Treaty‎," said Senator Maria Cantwell after hearing the good news from Secretary of State John Kerry. "A new agreement is critical to so many aspects of our Northwest economy. I congratulate the administration on completing the Circular 175 negotiating terms and hope that now the Canadian Government will come to the table and start detailing what a new hydro-agreement will look like."

The Circular 175 is based on regional recommendations developed by stakeholders in the Columbia River Basin. The recommendations balance ecosystem functions and community concerns including hydropower generation and flood control.

Cantwell has been on the forefront in the charge to modernize the treaty. Most recently, the Senator led 21 of her Senate and House colleagues in a letter to Secretary Kerry pressing his agency to hasten its finalization of the Circular 175. In March of this year, she spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the need to move forward with negotiations. The Senator continued her push in June, meeting with Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton to discuss progress on the Canadian side. Last year, Cantwell sent a letter to President Obama with 25 other members of the Pacific Northwest Congressional delegation, urging the Administration to move forward with a strategy for addressing the treaty. In 2014, Cantwell joined with 25 of her colleagues to press for action on moving the process forward.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Is a $15 Billion Threat Headed to Florida “…Twelve U-S power generators, including two nuclear plants, are in the storm’s path…” (Bloomberg News)

Columnist: Will Federal Agencies’ Review of Columbia, Snake Dams Lead to Removal? (Idaho Statesman, Boise)

Solar Supporters Still Troubled by Oregon PUC Recommendations (Portland Business Journal, OR)

U-S Panel: Tagging Dart Was Source of Infection That Contributed to Orca’s Death (KCPQ-TV, Seattle/Tacoma, WA)

Why Some California Cannabis Growers Oppose Legalization (Christian Science Monitor)

September Warmer, Wetter Than Average (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CENTRALIA, WA) -- The weather in September in the Twin Cities was very close to the averages for the month.

KELA/KMNT weatherman Dean Dahlin says we were slightly warmer than average for the month with 58.8 degrees which is 4-tenths of a degree above average.  For the month we received 2.45 inches of rain which is 35-hundredths of an inch above the average.

Dean says October starts to get cooler and wetter, with an average temperature of 51 degrees and 3-and-a third inches of rain.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Utilities Taking Longer on Rooftop Solar Applications (Politico, Morning Energy)

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- A utility and solar interest group-funded survey of installers finds U.S. utilities are taking longer to process rooftop solar interconnection requests.

While some utilities, such larger ones in California, process applications in a little as one day, many utilities in 2015 took an average of 67 days to process requests, up from 46 days in 2014, said the report by EQ Research.

The report suggested lawmakers and regulators can help utilities improve those timelines by requiring them to create online application and fee payment processes, and by setting reasonable processing deadlines with reporting requirements to track performance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Inside the Messy Fight Over Biomass (Politico)

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- It sounds like a simple question, but it's proven anything but: Should wood pellets, paper mill residues or dead and decaying trees be considered a carbon-neutral source of electricity? As Pro's Esther Whieldon reports, the EPA has spent five years trying to determine whether burning trees to generate electricity can help power plants reduce their carbon footprint but still hasn't reached an answer.

Now lawmakers are prodding the agency to deliver an answer that would favor the biomass industry, including through pending energy and appropriations bills that may receive more attention when Congress returns after the election. Industry supporters say national policy declaring biomass to be carbon neutral would give the technology a much needed boost because states would know they could include the fuel source in their compliance plans for environmental regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan. "I believe the science is firmly on our side that biomass is carbon neutral," Rep. Bruce Westerman , co-chair of the Congressional Biomass Caucus, tells Esther.

Environmental advocates are fighting congressional efforts to declare biomass carbon neutral while the science is still out at EPA, and they warn lawmakers risk repeating some of the same mistakes that they made more than a decade ago with corn ethanol. "It doesn't really lend itself to sweeping legislation about something like biomass carbon neutrality because it is so feedstock specific and it really is best left to the EPA, which is charged with determining the carbon impacts of these different fuels," Sasha Stashwick, a senior advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Southern California on heightened alert for major earthquake; Nevada experts watch closely (KATU-TV, Portland, OR)

Industry Lawsuits Mount Against Washington State’s New Carbon Cap – Including Big Electric Utilities (Northwest Public Radio)

Nation’s First Carbon Tax on the Ballot in Washington (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

National Hydropower Association Responds to Report on Reservoir Greenhouse Gas Emissions (North Central Washington Life, East Wenatchee, WA)

Solar Panels That You Can Walk & Drive Across Debut in North Idaho (Northwest Public Radio)

Chehalis River Basin Report Released (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CHEHALIS, WA) -- As part of a community effort to restore the Chehalis River Basin and put it on a path to recovery, the Washington Department of Ecology has completed a draft environmental report, officially called a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

The environmental review evaluated four basin-wide options that were developed and submitted to Ecology by the community to address flood damage and aquatic species habitat.

There will be a public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 6 PM at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Columbia River System Operations EIS: Feds Asking Public to Weigh in on Breaching Snake River Dams (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Puget Sound Energy Goes to Court Again to Block Liquefied Natural Gas Plant Disclosures (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Record Number of Sockeye to Spawn in Lake Cle Elum (Yakima Herald Republic, WA)

Offshore Wind Farms See Promise in Platforms That Float (NY Times)

How to Email: An Etiquette Update – Brevity Is the Highest Virtue (Atlantic Magazine)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Montana Supreme Court Denies $1.4 Million Electricity Rate Increase for Northwestern Energy (KVGO Radio, Missoula, MT)

Utility Board Votes for Tacoma Funding of Click Network (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – Paywall Advisory)

Lewis County Public Utility District Opposes Proposed Carbon Tax (The Chronicle, Centralia, WA)

Smallmouth Bass Invading Lower Deschutes River (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Statewide Blackout in Australia Raises Questions Over Renewable Energy (Reuters)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Penlight Celebrates Community Solar Project (Peninsula Light Company, Gig Harbor, WA)

(GIG HARBOR, WA) -- Peninsula Light Company CEO Jafar Taghavi thanked 60 Harbor Community Solar participants on Friday, Sept. 16, during a ceremony held at the Harbor History Museum.

About 100 PenLight members purchased at least one of 1,850 available units last year, when the electric cooperative sought participation. The 60-kilowatt array was installed last fall by A&R Solar of Seattle.

The project falls in line with Washington state’s renewable energy incentive program, which will provide each participant a check annually through 2020 based on the amount of energy produced by the system. The solar energy is used by the Harbor History Museum, which has seen about a 30 percent decrease in its electricity bills. The Harbor Community Solar project has been generating power since November 2015.

PenLight is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative. Since 1925, the utility has served the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas and Fox Island in western Pierce County. PenLight, a “full requirements utility” of the Bonneville Power Administration, has grown to be the second largest cooperative in Washington state. It serves more than 32,000 meters with 977 miles of line in 112 square miles of service territory.

Judges Question ‘Generation Shifting,’ Congress’ Role in Clean Power Plan Hearing (Morning Consult)

Gas Utilities Go to Court Against State’s New Clean-Air Rule (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, WA)

Bonneville Power Administration Pilot Program Pursues Grid Congestion Solutions (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Wyoming Rejects Tax on Wind Energy That Will Likely Be Sold in California (Los Angeles Times, CA)

Electric Car Tipping Point May Challenge Pioneers (Reuters)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Obama Climate Plan, Now in Court, May Hinge on Error in 1990 Law (NY Times)

PacifiCorp, KRRC Submit FERC Filings for Klamath Hydropower Project Removal (Renewable Energy World)

REC Silicon to Reduce Production by 50 Percent (Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake, WA)

U-S Not on Track to Meet 2025 Carbon Pollution Cutting Goal (Associated Press)

New Seattle Utilities Director Confirmed; Council Considers Increasing Pay Range To $334K (Seattle Times, WA – Paywall Advisory)