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)