Monday, February 29, 2016

Washington State Regulators Withdraw Proposed Carbon-Cap Rule – Industries would have had to reduce emissions five percent every three years (Associated Press)

Washington State Considers Nation’s First Carbon Emissions Tax (Associated Press)

Oregon Created a Tax Break for Google Fiber – But Comcast May Be the Big Winner (Oregonian, Portland)

Washington State Turns Up Heat for Victoria Sewage Plant, Eyes Travel Curbs (Vancouver Sun, BC)

West Coast Sardine Populations, Long Sinking, Look Even Worse in Forecast (Seattle Times, WA - Paywall Advisory)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Report: Man Says He Shot Wife, Children in Belfair (KIRO Broadcasting, Seattle, WA)

Coal, Climate Change Clash in Colstrip – Residents Defend Fuel That Built This Town (Great Falls Tribune, MT)

Windstorm Damages Add Up for Avista – Part of Rate Increase Tagged for Storm Expenses (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

These States Are Setting Wind Energy Records – And Suing over Obama’s Climate Plans (Washington Post)

AT&T Sues Louisville over ‘Google Fiber’ Proposal – Decries Use of Its Poles by Other Service Providers (USA Today)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Centralia Utilities Phone Scam (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CENTRALIA, WA) -- Another phone scam is going around, this one targeting City of Centralia utility customers. City officials say the callers are demanding payment and threaten disconnection of utility services, usually power, if payment isn’t made to them immediately. Officials emphasize the City of Centralia does not use this method to collect payment for utility bills. Payment is not demanded over the phone and payment is never taken in person at your door. If you receive such a call regarding your City of Centralia utilities, hang up and call the Customer Service Center at 330-7657.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Avista Files Request for Electric & Natural Gas Rate Increase – Includes Storm Recovery Costs (KHQ-TV, Spokane, WA)

BC Hydro Seeks Injunction against Peace River Dam Protesters (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Washington State Falls Behind on Solar Jobs – Bill passed by the House could help local companies as changes to subsidies loom (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Mystery Wind Drought That Cut U-S Wind Power in 2015 Is Back (New Scientist)

Pacific Northwest Could Become Hub for Methanol Production (Associated Press)

All-Electric Lewis County Bus Purchase Approved (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(Chehalis, WA) -- Bus riders in the Twin Cities could see an all-electric bus on the street as early as late this year. Twin Transit General Manager Rob LaFontaine says the transit agency’s Board last Thursday approved the purchase of a heavy duty fully electric-powered coach.He says the total cost of the 30-foot bus will be $570,000 with almost $300,000 covered by a state Department of Transportation grant.  The remainder will be paid for with Twin Transit funds. He says the bus will have 17 seats and two wheelchair spots.  LaFontaine says they will use the all-electric bus on Route 30, which is Twin Transit’s intercity route.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Conservation Can Likely Meet Power Needs of Pacific Northwest States (Associated Press)

Controversial Energy Bill Gains Traction in Oregon – The bill would eliminate the use of coal power in Oregon by 2030 (Associated Press)

Comcast Service Restored for Most after Monday’s Nationwide Outage (Oregonian, Portland)

Oregon’s U-S Senators: Portland's Toxic Air is a 'Public Health Emergency' (Oregonian, Portland)

U-S Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead at 79 (KCPQ-TV, Seattle, WA)

Washington State Senate Passes TransAlta Sales Tax Break Bill (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(OLYMPIA, wa) -- The Washington Senate has passed a bill that would give a sales tax break to Centralia’s TransAlta coal-fired power plant if and when it converts to using biomass or natural gas for electric generation. Senate Bill 5575, sponsored by Centralia Republican Senator John Braun, passed Friday on a 46 to 2 vote.  The bill would allow the TransAlta plant to receive a sales tax break on the construction of a new or renovated facility once it is converted to a natural gas or biomass facility.The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

U-S Supreme Court Blocks Obama Carbon Emissions Plan (Reuters)

Judge Tosses Case against Dredging Snake, Clearwater Rivers (Associated Press)

Ecology Officials: Shelton’s C Street Landfill Clean-Up Project Could Take Years (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Permanent Ban on Pot Farms Approved by Chelan County Commissioners (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee, WA)

Judge: Pierce County Prosecutor’s Text Message is a Public Record (Associated Press)

Ruralite Services Names New CEO (Ruralite)

(HILLSBORO, OR) -- Ruralite Services Inc. has named Michael Shepard as its incoming CEO. Earlier this year Russell Green, Ruralite Services CEO since 2005, announced he had accepted a new position with National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation as a regional vice president.

Mr. Shepard is currently regional publisher for Wick Communications, a privately owned media company based in southeastern Arizona. Before taking the position at Wick, he was Senior Vice President – Business Operations for the Seattle Times. He has a degree in communications with a journalism emphasis from Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, Washington.

Mr. Shepard began his career as a courthouse reporter for the Moscow/Pullman Daily News, on the Idaho/Washington border. He has served as president of both the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington and was a longtime member and chair of the professional advisory board for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at WSU. His publications career has taken him to jobs based in Walla Walla, Yakima and Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula giving him an appreciation for rural communities.

“In Mike, we have found a candidate with the skill set to take us into the future,” said Brad Reeve, Ruralite Services Board Chair and CEO of Kotzebue Electric Cooperative, Kotzebue, Alaska. “He has been both on the editorial and the management side of the organizations with which he has been affiliated. And, he has experience in multiple location publications, management and operations. We are pleased to have him join us at Ruralite.”

“I am delighted and honored to be named the next CEO of Ruralite Services,” said Mr. Shepard, who will begin working March 14. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in North Plains, Oregon. “I appreciate this opportunity to lead Ruralite toward the Board’s vision of the future. Ruralite has great opportunities to grow and even better serve its customers and I look forward to working with the fine Ruralite Services staff to address them.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

REC Silicon Shuts Down Remaining Moses Lake Production – Ongoing trade dispute continues to hinder business (Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake, WA)

South Kitsap Puget Sound Energy Customers Not Pleased with Energy Bills (Port Orchard Independent, WA)

Snowpack “Oodles Better” than Last Year, Hydrologists Report (Longview Daily News, WA)

City of Shelton Sued Over Contaminated Landfill (KING-TV, Seattle, WA)

Inslee Blasts Washington State Senate Republicans for Cabinet Ouster (KHQ-TV, Spokane, WA)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sub-Par Coho Run Forecast for Columbia River in 2016 (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Water Supply Specialists Waving Goodbye to Washington State Drought with Continued Snowpack Build (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee, WA)

Seattle Council Members Grill City Light Nominee (Seattle Times, WA - Paywall Advisory)

Cold Temps Bring Higher Kittitas County Electric Bills – Winter weather hits customer pocketbooks (Ellensburg Daily Record, WA)

CenturyLink: Work to Remedy Weeklong ‘Disruptions’ in Olympia & Tumwater Nearly Done (Olympian - Paywall Advisory)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bonneville Power Administration Reaches Major Milestone with Release of Final EIS on I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project (Bonneville Power Administration)

More work remains before a decision is made on how to address transmission congestion in southwestern Washington, northwestern Oregon
(PORTLAND, OR) – The Bonneville Power Administration is releasing its final environmental impact statement on the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project after more than six years of analysis and robust public involvement.
The final EIS is a significant milestone in BPA’s National Environmental Policy Act review for the siting of a potential 500-kilovolt transmission line from the Castle Rock, Wash., area to Troutdale, Ore.
The final EIS documents the completed analysis of potential impacts to a wide spectrum of human and natural environments from various potential routes that total more than 300 miles in length. BPA addressed nearly 10,000 comments during the EIS process and worked with landowners and others to obtain input for the analysis.
While the final EIS includes a thorough environmental analysis and identifies a preferred route, the final EIS is not a decision document. It does not include a decision on whether to construct the line.
“Before we make a decision, Bonneville will continue to evaluate the circumstances around the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project to ensure we’re making the right investments at the right time,” said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer, who will ultimately make the decision to build or not.
Mainzer added he does not anticipate reaching a decision before late 2016.
BPA proposed the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project to address a growing transmission congestion problem in southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon. While there is enough power generation in the region to meet energy demands, the existing transmission lines that deliver the power from other parts of the Northwest are becoming increasingly constrained in their ability to move that power during periods of high electricity use.
As a result of this congestion, the possibility of brownouts or power outages in this area from transmission constraints is increasing. BPA’s studies currently show that if electric demand, or load, continues to grow without any additional physical or operational changes, that scenario might occur as early as 2021.
In addition to considering whether to build the proposed line, for the past several years BPA has been actively exploring possible “non-wire” solutions – measures that do not involve building a new transmission line – that may address the congestion issue as part of its mission to deliver power reliably and at low cost to the Northwest.
Some solutions have been found that have allowed the need for the project to be deferred until 2021. However, to date, BPA has been unable to identify any combination of non-wire measures that would address congestion and maintain transmission reliability in this corridor for a longer term and that would be operationally, commercially and economically feasible. 
Even so, non-wire technologies are regularly evolving, and BPA is continuing to explore these measures and their ability to meet reliability needs, whether in the short or long term – or indefinitely, if possible. 
BPA has assembled a team of highly skilled engineers and other subject matter experts to continue exploring non-wire solutions. BPA is evaluating whether some combination of these measures would be sufficient to maintain reliable electric service by offsetting projected increases in power flow across southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon. Some of those options might include:
  • Generation redispatch: Refers to changing which large generation sources serve the load. This may alleviate congestion by reducing the amount of generation and power being transmitted along a path to more closely match the load or anticipated need.
  • Demand response: Refers to managing the power consumption at the end user. This may alleviate congestion by reducing power consumption and pairing it with generation reduction in a location to reduce flows along the transmission path.
  • Distributed standby generation: Refers to using small diesel generators or solar power generators near the source of the load.
  • Other distributed energy resources: This includes battery storage and solar generation. Large-scale batteries near the load can be used during times of high power demand. Similarly, during times of high generation, the batteries can be used to store surplus generation that can later be returned to the power system during periods of high demand. Solar generation converts sunlight to electricity and can be scalable from residential rooftops to industrial acreage scale.
  • Energy efficiency: Refers to increasing efficiency of existing buildings or appliances to reduce electricity use.
Jeff Cook, BPA’s vice president of Transmission Planning and Asset Management, emphasized that it is unlikely a single solution exists among the non-wire solutions.

“It’s important to also remember that any solution we arrive at will have a cost associated with it, and not all solutions are equal in terms of the benefit that they provide to our customers and constituents,” Cook said. “Part of the ongoing analysis is whether one of these options, or a combination of them, might help address the congestion problem and what potential trade-offs BPA and the region would face as a result.”

In the meantime, Mainzer will continue to review the merits of the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project along with any emerging information on non-wire solutions.

“This line would provide a long-term transmission solution, and so far, we haven’t found any other feasible and cost-effective options,” said Mainzer. “We recognize the impact and uncertainty that this potential line has on the affected communities in the I-5 corridor. But I want to be sure every potentially feasible option has been explored before I make a decision of this size and scope.”

For more information on the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project, visit 

Monday, February 1, 2016

NOTE: POSTED FEB 1, 2016, ONE YEAR AGO - THE STORY WAS WAS OVER A YEAR OLD AT ORIGINAL POSTING -- Washington State Attorney General: Puget Sound Energy Overcharging Customers (KING-TV, Seattle, WA)

Washington State Democratic Party Takes Position Opposing CarbonWa’s I-732 (The Cascadia Advocate)

Oregon Utilities Throw Weight behind Plan to Eliminate Coal & Increase Renewables (Oregonian, Portland)

Lawsuit: Pierce County Town Overcharged Hospital Millions for Sewer Service (KCPQ-TV, Seattle, WA)

GE to Phase Out CFL Bulbs in Favor of LED (Consumerist)