Efforts by upper Columbia River tribes to reintroduce salmon above Grand Coulee Dam are on track. With successful spawning and rearing in tributaries—and a directive from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council for BPA to mitigate for the loss of anadromous fish in the upper Columbia River—the region will soon examine the next phase of reintroduction.
Lisa Wilson, a Lummi Indian Business Council member and commissioner for the Northwest Indian Fish Commission, wrote this week's column. Her piece about the importance of hatcheries to salmon recovery was originally published on Oct. 5 for NWIFC's column, Being Frank, which appears on the Northwest Treaty Tribes' website, and is being reprinted here with its permission.
This week's column comes from Benton County PUD GM Rick Dunn, who shares his concerns about problems that might be caused by the convergence of clean energy, conservation policies and the "increasingly fragile" Northwest power grid. He says there could be environmental and ecological consequences from a deepening dependence on wind and solar power.
In this second of a two-part series on the late June/early July Northwest heat dome, officials from four regional utilities (Avista Utilities, Benton PUD, Clark Public Utilities and Idaho Power) share measures taken to help weather the event, internal and external communications, and looking ahead/lessons learned.
In an open letter to BPA Administrator John Hairston, Public Power Council's Executive Committee Chair Roger Kline and Executive Director Scott Simms express the group's concerns with the case Bonneville has made for joining the Western EIM and the proposed Western Resource Adequacy Program, and suggest ways to address these concerns. Kline is also Northern Wasco County PUD's general manager.
The second part of the two-part column, "Heat-Dome Tales From Four Northwest Utilities," will be published in Clearing Up's Sept. 24 issue (No. 2023). The first part ran Sept. 10 (CU No. 2021 ).
The Pacific Northwest experienced an extreme heat dome in late June and early July, which, among other consequences, tested the region's electric system. For the most part, regional utilities kept the power flowing to customers through the extreme warmth, despite some on-the-edge conditions. This is the first of a two-part column on the heat-dome experiences of four Northwest utilities: Avista Utilities, Benton PUD, Clark Public Utilities and Idaho Power.
An environment and labor coalition in California has urged the state Legislature to facilitate the new transmission needed—before it is too late—to move the new renewables it needs for its ambitious renewable energy goals and to lesson impacts disadvantaged areas from fossil fuel generation.
Clearing Up sat down with Rebecca O’Neil, head of the renewable energy team of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to talk about how the electric power industry can better use energy storage. The technology is here to improve grid resiliency and reliability and to address energy inequity. But the industry’s planning and regulatory paradigms are holding us back, she says.
In this week’s Bearing Down, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown explains the events that led her to direct the state to join plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking the removal of the lower Snake River dams for the benefit of wild salmon and steelhead. In response to the editorial, which originally appeared in the East Oregonian newspaper, the Public Power Council has invited Brown to attend its upcoming virtual board meeting on Oct. 7, 2021.
Battery energy storage is being added at a furious pace in the California ISO's territory and is already working to meet the evening net peak, the time of tight supply each day that is giving grid operators more and more gray hair as the risk of rolling blackouts looms.
Whooshh Innovations has tested a fish passage system that can replace fish ladders. And has now approached Northwest lawmakers and federal agencies with an alternative plan to help ESA-listed salmon and steelhead in the Snake River basin. The company's CEO says its $67 million cost could be recovered in 10 years—with money to spare—if the water saved by closing the fish ladders is used to generate carbon-free hydropower instead.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is taking a critical look at its Fish and Wildlife Program to assess its overall success. At a recent meeting, staff made clear to the agency's Fish and Wildlife Committee that the program's job is to mitigate for hydroelectric dams, not to recover ESA-listed fish. It's a critical difference, and one that is too often misunderstood throughout the region.
PacifiCorp has proposed a transportation electrification pilot program to help accelerate adoption of electric vehicles in rural Oregon. The program would help cover the costs of building charging stations for residential and nonresidential customers, along with an education and outreach program. This comes at a time when rural America is about to get an electric vehicle it will recognize.
Announcements of new electric aviation programs and technological advances seem to come more and more frequently. An airplane maker near Seattle expects its nine-passenger electric airplane to fly for the first time later this year. Emissions and economics likely will spur rapid expansion of commercial electric airplanes in the next 15 years, but for the most part, electric aviation is not on the radar for utilities, regulators and policymakers.
The debate over changes to energy wheel-throughs in California intensified this week, with Arizona's top regulator charging that federal energy regulators allowed the California ISO "to unfairly block" electricity flowing to Arizona.
When enacted later this month, Oregon's House Bill 2021 will align the state with New York for the most aggressive state clean electricity goal in the country—zero greenhouse gas emissions in the grid by 2040, says Angus Duncan, former chair of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and president of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Duncan says the bill's passage owes much to the emergence of Oregon's equity and environmental justice communities as a new ally, and notes that much work still remains to turn the state's still-climbing emissions around.
Uncertainty seems to be the one thing that experts are certain about for the Western power grid and wholesale markets this summer. The West is stretched thin with little margin to dampen price swings or in the worst case to prevent outages, said industry leaders speaking at Newsdata and CJB Energy Economics' recent Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference.
A struggle in the West over transmission access in California during the blazing heat of summer has landed at the desks of federal regulators, with little time left to settle the debate. At issue is the California ISO's plan to require "high-priority" showings for transmission service during tight summer conditions, which has been met with a flurry of protests at the federal level. The plan involves changes to its wheel-through policies, which it says to are meant to avert crowding out imports needed for resource adequacy when the system gets tight in the summer.
Susan Ackerman has had a hand in shaping regional energy policy for nearly three decades and is one of the most respected voices in the region. She'll retire from her current role at Eugene Water and Electric Board in July. Clearing Up takes a look at her career, and tosses a few last questions at "a true energy policy expert."
Leading energy experts from the Northwest and California will explore the 2021-2022 outlook for regional power markets and systems at the 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference June 17-18. This virtual event, co-presented by CJB Energy Economics and NewsData, is designed to help attendees better understand and be prepared for the coming 18 months. Please join us!
Batteries have become an increasingly common part of new power generation projects, particularly for solar and wind, if interconnection request queues are any guide. While this surge of hybrid project proposals could indicate a paradigm shift in how new resources are handled by balancing authorities, the devil is in the details for determining the value of co-location versus separate locations.
The 2021-2022 outlook for regional power markets and systems is the focus of the 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference coming June 17-18, virtually, co-presented by CJB Energy Economics and NewsData. Leading energy officials from the Northwest and California will share lots of information and insights for attendees. Please join us!
Energy efficiency is losing its ordained perch atop the Northwest resource stack. And that is good news. Now, the region can more clearly decide what are the ends it wants to use EE to help achieve?
The 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference June 17-18 will focus on the 2021-2022 outlook for regional markets and power systems, featuring an exceptional group of leading energy-expert speakers from the Northwest and California. Co-presented by NewsData and CJB Energy Economics, this year's online gathering is designed to help attendees better understand key issues and navigate this near-term future.
There's been lots of news lately about the Simpson proposal to take out Snake River dams and end the salmon wars. We take a look at what's next, and what barriers to consensus have been identified at recent forums and conferences.
We encourage you to join us for the 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference online the mornings of June 17 and 18.
The 5th Annual Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference is set for June 17-18, virtually. Co-presented by NewsData and CJB Energy Economics, this year's online gathering will focus on the 2021-2022 outlook for regional markets and power systems. We invite you to register and join us!
Environmental justice and its cousins—climate justice, equity and diversity—are quickly becoming household catchphrases. But what does it really mean? The 11th Northwest Climate Conference took a deep dive into the concept.
We are excited to announce the 5th Annual Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference, set virtually for June 17-18 and co-presented by CJB Energy Economics and NewsData.
A great deal of new high-voltage transmission infrastructure will need to be constructed for the United States to meet its carbon-reduction goals, and a new plan issued by President Joe Biden's administration this week holds promise for this expansion to take place.
California has been breaking renewables records left and right in recent weeks, but that phenomenon has wider impacts and big implications for electric grid reliability and market prices.
This is Clearing Up No. 2000, representing nearly 39 years of continuous chronicling of the Northwest electric and natural gas sectors. The numbers are impressive, but the main story of this milestone is more about evolution, people and community.
An energy calamity of the sort experienced by Texas in mid-February could occur in the Northwest, but sources and research suggest our region has a number of preventive advantages and tools. This is the third and final column exploring the Texas breakdown and potential lessons and takeaways for the Northwest. Read the first two installments here and here.
The Texas power outages in mid-February have reverberated far beyond the Lone Star State. This second of a three-part series explores ways in which the Texas and Northwest energy systems are distinct, as well as potential concerns and vulnerabilities for the Northwest.
Registration is now available for an upcoming virtual panel discussion on the topic of regional grid resilience. We invite you to learn more and sign up today at newsdata.com/conf.
The mid-February power outages in Texas amid bitter cold temperatures wreaked an immense human, financial and institutional toll. This first of a three-part series looks at what happened in the Lone Star State, and begins to explore what if any takeaways this historic and tragic event poses for the Northwest energy system.
We're excited to announce and sponsor an upcoming online panel discussion focused on the topic of regional grid resilience, and we invite you to attend.
The Colstrip ownership group is in arbitration over financing operations of units 3 and 4, in what could be a decisive event for the controversial Montana coal-fired power plant. The four Pacific Northwest utilities are being accused of starving the budgets for the units so that they aren't operational in 2025. "It's time" to decide on the future of the plant.
The market value of utility-scale solar declined in California in recent years as its penetration grew, according to a report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that provides a detailed look at the impact of solar in the Golden State.
Demand-response providers came away from California's August blackouts with a bit of a bruised reputation, but they say there is more to the story.
Smart water heaters are part of the solution to the last remaining hurdle standing in the way of a major expansion of renewable energy: What to do with surplus power when it's windy and sunny and what to do about power shortfalls when it's not. The life-cycle cost of new wind and solar generators have made them competitive with new thermal plants for some time, but integration costs, unique to renewables, pose an economic disadvantage. That is changing as the cost of renewables drop even lower and innovative integration strategies like smart water heaters are poised to kick in.
Energy policy collided with Info Wars as Texas was plunged into darkness by a deep freeze. Fingers were pointed, and rhetorical bombs tossed by supporters of various fuel types, some aimed at California and its rolling blackouts last summer. But the lack of preparation and planning in both cases should be the real focus of analysis and debate.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) shares with Clearing Up about his ambitious $33.5 billion vision that includes removing the four lower Snake River dams to help salmon and compensation for those dependent on the dams.
Many participants in the California ISO say the grid operator is trying to do too much in too short a time frame to prepare for summer, and should focus on problems identified during blackouts last summer.
President Joe Biden set the stage during his first few days in office set the stage for a national energy policy modeled on California's, but a question remains as to whether this will also lead to the growth of the many energy hiccups and problems facing the Golden State.
Offshore wind development is starting to gain more attention along the West Coast, and with a new clean energy-friendly administration now in control in Washington, D.C., it only seems a matter of time before some ambitious developer looks at the waters off the Pacific Northwest and dreams o…
A new year is a useful time to take stock and look to the past as well as the future. We presented our top-five 2020 stories last week, and here we offer some key regional energy issues/themes we expect to follow in 2021. Although this list is neither exhaustive nor ranked, we hope you find it worthwhile.
In an extraordinary year marked by a pandemic and political upheaval, Northwest utilities rolled with the punches in 2020, and will be starting the new year with the possibility of things improving.