Friday, May 27, 2016

Mason PUD 1 Commission Formally Opposes Carbon Tax Initiative (Mason Web TV, Shelton, WA)

Washington State & Tribal Officials Agree On Puget Sound Salmon Season (KXRO Radio, Aberdeen, WA)

Comcast Loses Key Oregon Tax Rulings, with ‘Tens of Millions’ at Stake (Oregonian, Portland)

Montana, Idaho, Wyoming Want to Be Heard on Longview Coal Terminal Permit (Northwest Public Radio)

Judges Reject Steens Mountain Wind Project (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Lewis County PUD Commissioner Candidate Withdraws (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CHEHALIS, WA) – There will not be a contested race for Lewis County PUD Commissioner from District 3, which represents the east end of the county. The Lewis County Auditor’s Office says Lee Grose (gross), who had filed for the seat currently held by Chuck Tenpass, withdrew his candidacy on Monday. That leaves Tim Cournyer of Mossyrock as the only candidate for the position. Tenpass is not running for re-election. Because it is a non-partisan position, the county elections office says it will not be on the August 2 Primary Election, but will be on the General Election ballot in November.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Equipment Failure Causes Large Power Outage in Downtown Seattle (KCPQ-TV, Seattle, WA)

Feds Reject Request to Lift Snake River Fall Chinook Listing (Associated Press)

Franklin PUD Community Solar Making Power, Shade (Tri-City Herald, WA)

Thieves Steal Stream Monitoring Equipment at Multiple Washington State Rivers (Everett Herald, WA)

Olympic Panel of Shelton Will Close at the Cost of 217 Jobs (Olympian - Paywall Advisory)

Lewis County PUD Equal Payment Plan (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CHEHALIS, WA) -- Lewis County PUD is extending the sign-up period for its Equal Payment Plan this year. The enrollment period is usually in April and May, but this year customers will have until the end of July to sign up. The plan is a way of balancing out a customer’s bill over the course of a year. Debbie Elizaga with PUD says to qualify for the Equal Payment Plan a customer must have been with PUD for at least 12 months at the same address. For more information on the Equal Payment Plan, contact Lewis County PUD.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bonneville Power Administration Celebrates 75th Anniversary Of Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs (Bonneville Power Administration)

Folksinger wrote 26 songs promoting the Columbia River, benefits of new hydroelectric dams
(PORTLAND, OR) – Seventy-five years ago, legendary folksinger and songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote 26 songs for the Bonneville Power Administration. During his month of employment in the spring of 1941, Guthrie traveled across Oregon and Washington and visited towns, farms, Native American locales and the construction site of Grand Coulee Dam in northeast Washington. Inspired by the people he met and his own observations and experiences, Guthrie wrote a collection of songs about the Columbia River and the benefits new federal hydroelectric dams would bring to the people of the Northwest.

“He plucked tunes about the people, the mighty Columbia River, the beautiful Northwest landscape, and the promise of prosperity from new hydroelectric dams,” said Libby Burke, archivist in BPA’s library. “The construction of the Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams brought electricity, irrigation for crops and jobs at a time when many folks were desperate for work following the Great Depression.”

The songs Guthrie wrote in his employment at BPA are known collectively as “The Columbia River Songs.” The titles include, “Roll On, Columbia,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “Pastures of Plenty” and “The Biggest Thing that Man has Ever Done,” and some later became part of Northwest and American musical tradition.

In celebration of this 75th anniversary, Washington Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed May 28 as “Woody Guthrie Day” in the state of Washington. BPA is one of the community sponsors of the “Woody Guthrie Day” event at Grand Coulee Dam, Saturday, May 28.

“We’re excited to celebrate the music of this great American songwriter and his 30-day employment with us back in 1941,” Burke added.

The free event includes music all day on the big lawn, film screenings, a booth highlighting the history of Guthrie’s songwriting for BPA, historical presentations, and readings and signings of “26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest,” a new book by Seattle KEXP radio host Greg Vandy that was researched at BPA’s library in Portland, Ore. This will also be the opening weekend of the Grand Coulee Dam laser show, which will follow the programs.
BPA is also hosting an anniversary celebration of the Columbia River songs on Woody Guthrie’s 104th birthday, July 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at its headquarters in Portland. The event, which is open to the public, will feature a presentation about Guthrie’s songwriting for BPA, screening of film clips, an interview with author Greg Vandy and BPA researcher Libby Burke, as well as a book signing by Vandy. Half of the sales of his “26 Songs in 30 Days” book will benefit the Northwest Federal Employees Association’s scholarship fund.

The rest of the story

Woody Guthrie was hired to write music for a BPA-produced movie about Columbia River power. The film called, “The Columbia,” was abandoned before completion due to the start of World War II. It was finally finished in 1949, after footage of the Vanport flood offered the writer and producer, BPA’s Stephen B. Kahn, an opportunity to include flood control in the film as a case for continued federal dam building. However, all the film prints that were known – along with the 1939 film, “Hydro,” and many public power promotional pamphlets and materials – were destroyed in 1953 and for the most part forgotten.

Four decades later, employee Bill Murlin, who worked in BPA’s public affairs office, discovered Guthrie’s name in the film credits while looking for material for BPA’s 50th anniversary. Over the next several years, Murlin researched Guthrie’s wildly productive month of songwriting, ultimately leading to BPA’s release of a songbook and the recordings. Read more about the unearthing of a pop-culture icon in BPA’s history.

BPA recently released two collections of films that include “The Columbia” and the 1987 film “River of Power,” which features some of Guthrie’s original demo recordings tracked down by Murlin. To view or learn more about BPA’s films, visit: Free DVD copies may be ordered from the BPA Library and Visitor Center.

Click here for a gallery of Guthrie images and watch a video that showcases his music from the 1949 film “The Columbia.” 

Benton, Franklin PUD Leaders Oppose Carbon Tax Initiative (Tri-City Herald, WA)

Proposed Longview Coal Terminal Gets Public Grilling, Props (Northwest Public Radio)

Emails Cast Clouds over California Energy Regulator’s Ties to Pacific Gas & Electric & Wall Street (San Jose Mercury News, CA)

Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing in Lower Columbia River to Reopen for Memorial Day Weekend (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Pole Attachment Politics – Where AT&T’s Lawsuit against the City of Louisville Stands (Louisville Business First, TN)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Franklin PUD Commission Opposes Initiative 732 (Franklin PUD, Pasco, WA)

(PASCO, WA) -- The Franklin PUD Commission unanimously passed a resolution today at its regularly scheduled board meeting opposing Initiative 732 that imposes an escalating tax on carbon emissions from electricity generated by fossil fuels.

A citizens’ group identifying itself as “Carbon Washington” (CarbonWA) has gathered sufficient signatures in 2016 to place Initiative 732 (Initiative), also known as the Carbon Pollution Tax Act, before the Washington State legislature.   By the end of the special session, the 2016 Washington State legislature chose not to adopt the original Initiative, which automatically sends it to the ballot before the Washington State voters in November 2016.  The Initiative is intended to encourage cleaner energy solutions by taxing, per ton, carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution from fossil fuels.

If passed, the Initiative would impose an escalating tax on the carbon emissions from the electricity generated by fossil fuels, including electricity generated within, imported into Washington, or acquired from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  The Initiative proposes a $15 tax per metric ton (PMT) of carbon dioxide emissions beginning July 2017, increasing to $25 PMT in July 2018 and increasing 3.5%, plus inflation annually thereafter up to a $100 PMT limit.

“This tax will be imposed on the consumer of electricity, our Franklin PUD customers, then the tax will be collected by Franklin PUD and remitted to the State’s general fund with no clear path that guarantees a reduction in carbon emissions”, stated Roger Wright, Franklin PUD Commission President. The administrative and reporting requirements in the Initiative will result in increased staff time, the cost of which is not currently determinable.

This is taking place while Franklin PUD already provides over 90% of our electricity to customers that is carbon free - thanks to hydro, wind, and nuclear power. 

Of main concern to Franklin PUD is that the utility is being required to use the Washington State Fuel Mix report as compiled by the Department of Commerce.  This report has been proposed to be the basis in determining the monthly carbon tax on Franklin PUD customers.  According to the Initiative, the percentage of Franklin PUD’s fuel mix that comes from an “unspecified resource” will be considered coal, regardless of its source - which could be from hydro, wind, solar, nuclear or other sources. The Initiative assigns a carbon liability for market purchases of electricity made by BPA and is included in the electricity Franklin PUD buys from BPA, which is about 85% of Franklin PUD’s power purchases.  Market purchases are made by BPA when there’s a need for more electricity, which often occurs during times of lower hydropower generation.   

Franklin PUD customers would incur additional costs from the Initiative mandates estimated to be between $1,880,000 and $3,164,000 annually when fully implemented.  The cost is projected to vary depending on how much hydropower is available and the need for market purchases.   

Franklin PUD will continue to work with other utilities on carbon reduction solutions.

Unplugging the Colorado River – Could the End be Near for One of the West’s Biggest Dams? (NY Times)

Suspects Release Young Salmon at Mayfield Lake (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

Montana: Interest in Solar Power Soaring While Utility Seeks Rate Cut (Associated Press)

Microsoft Opens Wallet to Extend Internet in Remote Areas – Like Africa, India And Rural Maine (Associated Press)

Twitter Loosens the Reins ... Photos, Videos and Other Media Soon Won't Count Against 140-Character Limit (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, WA)

2016-2017 Northwest Public Power Association Board Officers, Trustees Announced (Northwest Public Power Association)

VANCOUVER, WA. – On May 18, at its 76th Annual Conference and Membership Meeting in Tulalip, Wash., the Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Board of Trustees introduced Alex Love of Nelson Hydro (Nelson, B.C.) as the 2016-2017 NWPPA Board of Trustees president. Love will serve a one-year term as board president.

At the meeting, the board also announced the following officers:

·       First Vice President Steven Taylor of Mason County PUD No. 1 (Shelton, Wash.)
·      Second Vice President Jackie Flowers of Idaho Falls Power (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
·       Secretary/Treasurer Scott Egbert of Wells Rural Electric Company (Wells, Nev.)
·      Immediate Past President Dick Morris of Trinity PUD (Weaverville, Calif.)

Along with the officer announcements, the membership re-elected seven trustees for second three-year terms: Arlen Orchard of SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.), Terry LaLiberte of Kootenai Electric Cooperative (Hayden, Idaho), Chuck Thurman of Monmouth Power & Light (Monmouth, Ore.), Jafar Taghavi of Peninsula Light Company (Gig Harbor, Wash.), Buddy Treadway of Benton REA (Prosser, Wash.), Larry Dunbar of City of Ellensburg (Wash.), and associate member repesentative Angie Sanchez Virnoche of FCS GROUP (Redmond, Wash.). In addition, Susan Thraen of Missoula Electric Cooperative (Missoula, Mont.) and Dominic Ivanoff of Kotzebue Electric Association (Kotzebue, Alaska) were both appointed to fill one-year unexpired terms.

In addition to these trustees, Bob Hammond of the City of Richland Energy Services (Wash.) was elected by the membership to serve a first three-year term on the Board of Trustees, and Terry Kelly of Salem Electric (Salem, Ore.) was re-elected for a first full three-year term.

Suspects Release Young Salmon at Mayfield Lake (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(MOSSYROCK, WA) -- The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the release of about 100,000 fall Chinook salmon into Mayfield Lake over the weekend. The Sheriff’s Office says unknown suspects cut the loops to the nets holding the fish in pens sometime between 4:30 PM Saturday and Noon on Sunday. Authorities say the fish could overwhelm fish traps at Mayfield Dam when they head out to sea.  Damage is estimated at over $5,000. Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call the Lewis County Sheriff's Office or Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Northwest Public Power Association Honors 2016 Annual Award Winners (Northwest Public Power Association, Vancouver, WA)

(VANCOUVER, WA) – On May 18, at its 76th Annual Conference and Membership Meeting in Tulalip, Washington, the Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) presented the following awards to individuals within the public power community:
  • Inaugural Homer T. Bone Award: Congressman Norm Dicks (Wash.)
  • Paul J. Raver Community Service Award: Steve Eldrige of Umatilla Electric Cooperative (Hermiston, Ore.) and Tim Dillon of the City of Seldovia (Alaska)
  • NWPPA President’s Award: John Saven of Northwest Requirements Utilities (Portland, Ore.) and Arnie Winkler of Northwest Public Power Association (Vancouver, Wash.)
  • John M. George Public Service Award: Ron Hatfield of Public Utility District No. 2 of Pacific County (Wash.)
  • Distinguished Service Award: Mike Gianunzio of SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.) and John Prescott of PNGC Power (Portland, Ore.)
  • Life Membership Award: Mike Baker of Modern Electric & Water Company (Spokane Valley, Wash.), Steve Eldrige of Umatilla Electric Cooperative (Hermiston, Ore.), Lynn Heminger of Douglas County PUD (East Wenatchee, Wash.), and Robert Myhr of Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (Eastsound, Wash.)

Thousands of Cormorants Abandon Their Nests on the Columbia River (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Report: Branches on Power Line Started Fatal Fire near Twisp (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee, WA)

Marijuana Millionaires Cashing in on Cannabis Legalization (The Guardian, UK)

Washington State's Snowpack Collapsing Fast, Stream Flow at Risk (Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA)

Historic Shelton Hotel Catches Fire, Collapses (KING-TV, Seattle, WA)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Washington State Utilities (Including Benton, Franklin PUDs) Reach Solar Incentive Cap, Foreshadowing Net Metering Limits (Utility Dive)

Nearly 100 Turn Out at Bellevue City Hall to Protest New Puget Sound Energy Power Line Project (KCPQ-TV, Seattle, WA)

Group to Sue PGE over Deschutes River Water Quality – Blames Lake Billy Chinook Water Withdrawal Tower (Columbia River Basin Bulletin)

New Turbines at Ice Harbor Dam Aim to Improve Fish Passage (Associated Press)

New Area Code Coming to Western Washington State (KIRO Broadcasting, Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Army Corps Sides with Tribes, Blocks Coal Port near Bellingham (Yakima Herald-Republic, WA)

Puget Sound Salmon Deal May Soon End Season Stalemate (KING-TV, Seattle, WA)

SolarCity Stock Dives to Three-Year Low on Growing Losses, Lowered Outlook (Silicon Valley Business Journal, CA)

Chelan PUD Maintains Historic Spill Rate on Chelan Dam to Sustain Lake Levels (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee, WA)

Including “Sparky the Danger Bear” – Orphaned Black Bears Wintering At Idaho Rehab Center Will Return to Wild Tuesday (KBOI-TV, Boise, ID)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Q&A: Here’s Why Salmon Fishing Is Off Limits in the Puget Sound (Associated Press)

Facing Potential Blackouts, California Regulators Boost Efficiency Spending for Low-Income Communities (Utility Dive)

Mason PUD 1 to Hold Hearing on Carbon Tax Initiative 732 (Mason Web TV, Shelton, WA)

Ten Megawatt Solar Farm Slated for Central Oregon (Associated Press)

NRC Finds Environmental Impact of Yucca Mountain Would Be ‘Small’ (Morning Consult)

Elaine Dixon to Succeed Arnie Winkler at Northwest Public Power Association (Northwest Public Power Association)

May 9, 2016

(VANCOUVER, WA) -- As of today, Elaine Dixon has joined the Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) staff as the incoming director of education and workforce development. Dixon will fill the vacancy created when Arnie Winkler, the current director of education and workforce development, retires on June 30.

Dixon comes to NWPPA with over 20 years of organizational learning and development experience, and 10 years of experience in the power industry. Most recently she spent eight years with Marsh and McLennen companies (Mercer, Oliver Wyman) as the global head of client delivery and then chief operations officer for the Leadership Development business. Prior to that, she worked for PacifiCorp/Scottish Power as the director of talent management. While there, her team provided organizational development, change management, succession planning, leadership development, learning, and staffing services for Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power, Utah Power, and PPM Energy. She has also worked for PacifiCare Health Systems and Nike Inc.

“Elaine was the unanimous selection of the interview panel,” said NWPPA Executive Director Anita Decker. “She has the background and experience to make sure we don’t miss a beat at delivering value to our members with our training and educational programs.”

NWPPA members who attended last October’s Women in Public Power workshop may recognize her name; she consulted with NWPPA on that event.

“I was introduced to NWPPA as a consultant while helping develop Women in Public Power. During my research, I talked with individuals across the membership who provided stories about their background and what is needed to be successful in public power. I was thoroughly impressed by the experience, competence, agility, smarts, and dedication to the work and the needs of the community they serve,” said Dixon. “I find the mission of NWPPA to be compelling and look forward to the opportunity to work with the public power community.”

Dixon has a bachelor’s degree in industrial organizational psychology from Western Washington University, a certification in organizational systems design, and is currently completing her International Coaching Federation certification.

A Pacific Northwest native from Mount Vernon, Wash., she is excited to travel the area and visit with our membership.

“I grew up in the Puget Sound area,” she said. “I have been very lucky to have traveled and worked globally, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to come home to work across this beautiful part of our world.”

When not working or traveling, Dixon may be found flying planes.

“A couple of years ago, I checked off a bucket list item by getting my private pilot license,” she said. “I’d rather fly the plane than jump out of it!”

NWPPA is excited to have her and her numerous skills with us!

Toledo Selected for Federal Broadband Program (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(TOLEDO, WA) -- Toledo has been selected for the “Cool and Connected” program which is an initiative of the Obama administration focused on helping rural communities grow their economies by working hand in hand with federal experts.  According to the “Cool and Connected” webpage, Toledo will use a new broadband network to support business and tourism downtown that will build on Vision: Toledo, a grassroots coalition of people committed to community revitalization.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Court Rejects Salmon Plan, Suggests Breaching Dams (Electric Co-op Today – What about Idaho Power’s Snake River Dams?)

Protest Continues over Puget Sound Salmon Fishing (Northwest Cable News)

REC Silicon to Resume Production in Moses Lake This Month (Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake, WA)

Nevada Company to Pursue Purchase of Unfinished Alabama Nuclear Power Plant (Associated Press)

Never Heard of the Clean Power Plan? You’re Not Alone. (Utility Dive)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Court Ruling on Federal Salmon Plan Sets Region Back to Square One (Northwest River Partners)

Calls Endangered Species Act into Question

Statement from Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners:

(PORTLAND, OR) -- Northwest RiverPartners is extremely disappointed in today’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon regarding the federal salmon plan, or Biological Opinion (BiOp), which fails to acknowledge that this BiOp is the most science-based, comprehensive and expensive effort to restore an endangered species in the nation, and is supported by the Obama Administration.

The decision potentially unwinds years of collaboration between federal agencies, Northwest states and tribes, and other stakeholders. The ruling does not provide a path forward for the region, other than re-doing the plan’s analysis and conducting an evaluation of alternatives, including dam removal, under the National Environmental Policy Act.

While the judge keeps the salmon plan in place and acknowledges its many measures are benefitting salmon, he concludes that they are not enough. The ruling creates years of more analysis of little value to the listed species. During the Obama Administration’s review of the science underpinning the BiOp, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, as well as independent scientists, concluded: “Overall it was an excellent analysis that used the best available science that was used in an extremely thoughtful way. The assumptions made were perfectly reasonable and it was done as well as it could have been done.”

Sadly, this court has failed to give deference to the agencies with expertise on the science as called for under the law. This BiOp, with its unprecedented collaboration, measures, investment and sound science, was considered a model; if it is not sufficient, that raises a fundamental question of whether the Endangered Species Act is at all workable.

Dan James Appointed New Deputy Administrator for Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville Power Administration)

James previously served as vice president of public affairs and marketing for PNGC, a co-op group representing utilities in seven western states

(PORTLAND, OR) -- BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer announced today the appointment of Dan James, formerly of the regional utility cooperative PNGC Power, to the position of deputy administrator for the Northwest power marketing agency.
“Dan is a terrific addition to the leadership team at Bonneville – his character and experience get right at the heart of what we are about: focusing on safety and staying connected to the region through customers, tribes, constituents and others,” said Mainzer. “Dan’s positive demeanor is infectious, and he’s dedicated to operational excellence and achieving tangible results.”
As deputy administrator, James will be responsible for leadership, strategic planning, financial management, and regulatory affairs as well as intergovernmental and public affairs oversight. He will oversee and provide direction and guidance for program execution and administration to executive vice presidents, vice presidents and managers of Corporate Strategy, Finance, Communications, Intergovernmental Affairs, the Ombudsman, and Compliance, Audit and Risk.
“I am delighted to have Dan’s long-time expertise in the energy field joining Bonneville,” said U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. “His relationship with the congressional delegation spans decades, and he brings an important knowledge of the Northwest’s energy needs.”
James comes to BPA from PNGC Power, where he has served as vice president of public affairs and marketing since 2007. 
Prior to his PNGC experience, James worked as a federal affairs representative at Pacific Northwest Waterways Association in Vancouver, Wash., and as a senior government relations specialist at Ball Janik LLP in Portland and Washington, D.C.
“Dan is a great choice for the deputy position,” said Scott Corwin, executive director of the Public Power Council, which represents the interests of publicly owned utilities in the Northwest. “Having worked in various sectors involving the river system, he is one of the foremost experts on issues impacting BPA and the Columbia Basin. Dan has a sterling reputation for integrity and sincere collaboration and will be a great asset to Bonneville and to the citizens of the region in this role.”
“Dan understands the unique role that BPA plays in the lives of the people it serves, and the opportunities and challenges facing the agency,” said Beth Looney, president and CEO of PNGC Power. “I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”
James is also a member of the National Preference Customer Committee of the National Electric Cooperative Association and is a senior fellow of the Oregon chapter of the American Leadership Forum.
“The region is very lucky to have Dan named deputy administrator at BPA. His broad knowledge base and vast experience, both in the region and in Washington, D.C., will benefit all customers of BPA,” said Mark Johnson, general manager of Flathead Electric Cooperative of Kalispell, Mont., and chairman of the executive committee for the Public Power Council. “As a Montanan, it is always nice to see another Montanan, especially one from the Flathead Valley, achieve such an important and influential position. All of us in public power will miss Dan in his current role, but we know he will represent us well, and I look forward to working with him as the deputy administrator.”
James grew up in western Montana near Flathead Lake. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., in 1987 and remains a faithful follower of the university’s football team to this day. He also earned a utility management certificate from Willamette University in Portland in 2015. He has served on boards for such community organizations as United Way of Columbia-Willamette, Pacific University, Oregon Wave Energy Trust and the Pacific Youth Choir. He lives in Northeast Portland with his spouse and two teenage daughters.
“I have been fortunate to live in the Northwest most of my life and work for the people of our rural areas most of my career,” said James. “I am excited to join Elliot’s team at a time when the agency faces unique opportunities and challenges.”

James is scheduled to start in the deputy administrator position within the next several weeks.

Clallam PUD Officials Consider Possible Impacts of Carbon Tax Initiative (Sequim Gazette, WA)

Behind the Collapse of SunEdison, a Solar Supernova (Los Angeles Times, CA)

Wildlife Workers Kill 38 Sea Lions near Bonneville Dam This Year (KGW TV, Portland, OR)

Cost Estimate of Los Angeles-Area Gas Leak Hits $665 Million (Associated Press)

Canada: All of Fort McMurray Ordered to Flee Wildfire in the Largest Fire Evacuation in Alberta's History (Edmonton Journal, AB)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Penlight Members Re-Elect Three Board Directors (Peninsula Light Company, Gig Harbor, WA)

(GIG HARBOR, WA) – Three members were elected to the Peninsula Light Co. board of directors as the cooperative utility held its annual meeting at company headquarters on Monday, May 2.

Jeff Bucholz, Signo Uddenberg and Spence Nordfors, all incumbents, were re-elected to serve three-year terms. Company bylaws require a 15 percent quorum in order to validate the election, and that was surpassed as 4,953 valid ballots were returned out of 30,602 eligible members (16.18 percent participation). Ballots were mailed to members in March and accepted until April 28.

PenLight has nine directors who serve staggered three-year terms. Three seats are up for election each year. Bucholz received 3,093 votes (62.4 percent), Uddenberg had 2,713 votes (41.7 percent) and Nordfors garnered 2,569 votes (51.9 percent). Also running were at-large candidates Peter Stanley (2,067 votes, 41.7 percent), Justin Steifel (1,768 votes, 35.7 percent) and Shannon Wiggs (1,577 votes, 31.8 percent). All three were chosen by a nominating committee that included Dave Morris, Marcia Harris and Gary Glein. There were also 46 votes for write-in candidates.

At the board meeting following the annual meeting, the following officers were confirmed for the 2016-17 term: Signo Uddenberg, president; Paul Alvestad, vice president; Marc Jorgenson, treasurer; and Bucholz, secretary. The other PenLight board members include Roger Spadoni, Scott Junge, Nick Markovich and Deb Ross.

In other business, minutes from the previous year were approved, the treasurer’s report was presented, and CEO Jafar Taghavi provided a company update.

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 31,000 meters with 977 miles of line in 112 square miles of service territory.

Portland State University Study Finds Drugs in Oregon Oysters (KGW-TV, Portland, OR)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tacoma Power Wins National Award for Cushman Dam Floating Fish Collector (Northwest Public Power Association)

(TACOMA, WA) -- On April 26, Tacoma Power received its fifth-straight Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Award from the National Hydropower Association (NHA). The award, for Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement, honors the Floating Fish Collector at the Cushman Hydroelectric Project in Mason County.

The collector is attached to Cushman Dam No. 1; it gathers juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean. Once collected, they get a three-mile-long truck ride to Cushman Dam No. 2 and released into the river below. It is a critical component in Tacoma Power’s overall efforts to help restore fish populations in the North Fork Skokomish River.

Tacoma Power collaborated with a variety of federal and state agencies and the Skokomish Indian Tribe to ensure they were satisfied with the collector’s design and goals.
“The NHA is thrilled to present Tacoma Power with the OSAW Award for Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement,” said Linda Church Ciocci, executive director, NHA. “The Floating Fish Collector is a reflection of Tacoma Power’s commitment to the community, sustainability, and the environment.”

Are Local Governments the Target of Cybercriminals? (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

Washington State Patrol Academy Pulls Plugs on Lead-Tainted Water Fountains (KMAS Radio, Shelton, WA)

Idaho: FERC Staff Recommends against Bear River Dam (Breaking Energy)

Okanogan PUD to Decide Yea or Nay on Fate of Enloe Dam (Omak Chronicle, WA)

First Licenses Issued to Recreational Marijuana Growers (KGW-TV, Portland, OR)

Franklin PUD Completes Unique Community Solar Project (Franklin PUD, Pasco, WA)

First community solar to be built in Pasco

(PASCO, WA)  Franklin PUD broke ground on Monday, April 4, 2016 on the first community solar project in Pasco and it began producing energy on April 28th , 2016.  

The project is a “solar carport” located at the Franklin PUD Administration building in Pasco adjacent to the main office at 1411 West Clark Street. The project is comprised of 252 solar panels mounted on a carport covering the parking stalls at the southeast corner of the lot. Half of the parking stalls will be available for the public to use.  The total power generation capacity of the project will be 69.3 kilowatts, with enough annual energy production to power about five to six average homes.

The project was fully subscribed in December 2015 by Franklin PUD customers.  The cost per block was $200.  Customers chose to purchase between one and seventy-five of the 1,725 blocks that were available.  Community solar is a low-hassle option that generally offers a lower entry-price than rooftop solar and allows participants to support a sustainable future through an investment in a renewable source of energy – solar.

The cost of the project is funded by customer participation and some Rural Economic Development funds. In return, participants receive a proportionate credit on their electricity bill for solar energy produced by the project as well as the Washington State energy production credits. With the state production incentive of $1.08 per kilowatt hour generated through June 2020, and a monthly net metering credit, participants can expect a payback in three to four years.  Our community solar project provides Franklin PUD customers another solar option for those who may not own property or have an appropriate location for solar installation.

The contractor for the project was A&R Solar from Seattle (, who has built community solar projects for a number of utilities throughout the state.  The carport structure was furnished and erected by Baja Construction out of Martinez, California.  Ray Poland & Sons, a local engineering firm from Kennewick, performed site restoration work.

Franklin PUD will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, May 25th at 11:00 a.m. at the Administration building.  The public is invited to attend.