energy

Kyle MacKenzie / FLICKR Creative Commons

A new study from researchers at Oregon State University and Stanford has found that when children engage in energy conservation habits, their parents also adopt those habits.

Wouldn't it be nice to get a check from your electric utility instead of a bill? That's exactly what happens for a select few homeowners in the Pacific Northwest whose solar-powered houses generate more electricity than they use over the course of the year.

NOAA

Regional power managers are meeting in Portland this week. One issue they're looking at is how drought conditions across the Northwest may affect the region's supply of hydropower.

Water supply forecasts are looking bleak for many Northwest rivers this year. Snowpack levels in many areas are far below average, and they're not likely to improve.

John Fazio is a power systems analyst for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. He said that will mean less water in rivers and less hydropower.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Growing marijuana indoors requires a lot of energy -- lights to speed up plant growth, dehumidifiers, heating and cooling equipment. Could sustainable outdoor farms be a more environmentally responsible alternative? A group of Washington marijuana growers say yes.

Several workers sit around a  white table in a small room on a marijuana farm in Goldendale, Washington. They’ve got scissors in hand, scales set to carefully measure out grams.

“I am weighing out some weed," said one of the workers. "Yesterday was an 18 hour day trying to get an order out.”

Jes Burns / EarthFix

In the world of nuclear power, one technology is generating debate: factory-produced reactors that are no bigger than a house.

EncMstr / Wikimedia

A Salem, Oregon-based engineering company says it is close to deploying the first submerged wave power generator on the West Coast. M3 Wave Energy Systems plans a temporary deployment late this summer in shallow water off the northern Oregon coast.

Joe Nicora / Flickr

If the Northwest continues to operate dams as it does now, the region could be left with 20 percent less hydropower by 2080.

Energy Storage Battery Heads To The Market

Feb 7, 2014
Jeffrey G. Katz / Wikimedia Commons

The push to build supersized batteries capable of storing unused energy for later use on the grid is taking a big step forward: private companies are interested in putting such technology into commercial production.

Thanks to a series of energy efficiency improvements, the heating bills are lower at the Oregon Governor's Mansion this winter.

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

Courtney Flatt

If you’re looking to keep out the winter cold, triple-paned windows will do the trick. But Northwest researchers have found have found it can take decades before savings from these highly insulated windows pay you back.

Galina Mikhalishina / Creative Commons

Regulators have approved an air pollution permit for a proposed biomass power plant in Lakeview, Oregon. Some residents have questioned the permit because the town is already struggling with pollution from wood stoves.

bluebike / Flickr

Oregon's first utility-scale facility to turn commercial food waste to electricity is up and running in Junction City.

Washington State University will lead a new federal research center focused on finding new biofuels for jet airplanes.

Columbia River Coal Comments Most in DEQ History

Aug 26, 2013
Chris McKenna / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon environmental regulators have been sifting through more than 16,000 comments about a proposed coal export terminal along the Columbia River. the public comment period recently closed.

Imagine spending half your monthly income on an electricity bill. That’s a reality for people in the Northwest who live in aging mobile homes. Drafty units built in the 1970s waste energy and can contribute to health problems.

Vancouver Oil Terminal Lease Would Allow Exports

Jul 30, 2013

The Port of Vancouver has released copies of the lease agreement Port commissioners approved last week for a controversial oil terminal. EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita reports the lease does not restrict terminal developers from exporting oil overseas.

April Baer

Hundreds of people came to Vancouver's waterfront Saturday for a sun-baked demonstration against the fossil fuel industry, and its projects in the Northwest. April Baer reports.

The federal agency that watches over the nuclear power industry is taking a close look at the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington this week. That’s because the plant had a problem with the cooling system for a room of important electrical equipment. It wasn’t properly maintained.

Energy Northwest self-reported the issue to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NRC spokesman Victor Dricks says the public was never in any danger, because there were backup systems in place.

NASA

The head of the U.S. Department of Energy has decided to reshuffle the management of the agency. Those changes at the top may shift how cleanup gets done at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington.

Cassandra Profita

Coal opponents danced, waved banners and cheered Tuesday outside a Portland hearing about a proposed export terminal. It was a quieter scene inside the meetings in Eastern and Western Oregon, where officials heard hundreds of public comments.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

A train loaded with oil exploded in Eastern Canada over the weekend. There are 13 confirmed deaths and dozens more missing. The train was carrying oil from the massive Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota.

A new battery power storage system that may provide some long term solutions to storing power from the electrical grid is being tested in the Tri-Cities. Steve Jackson reports.

The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to pay $136,000 in fines for allegedly mishandling waste left over from plutonium production at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The penalty comes from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Department of Energy doesn’t agree with EPA's findings.

Washington Supreme Court Hears Wind Farm Case

Jul 1, 2013

The Supreme Court of Washington Thursday heard arguments in a case about a controversial wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge. Then-Governor Chris Gregoire approved the project more than a year ago. Environmentalists say it will harm wildlife, recreation, and scenic views. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy visits Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington on Wednesday. Among the issues he will have to deal with are the leaking underground tanks of radioactive waste and the troubled waste treatment plant.

From his resume, it appears Moniz isn’t short on brainpower. He’s been on the faculty of MIT since 1973. Secretary Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

Renewable energy storage is one step closer becoming a reality in the Northwest. Researchers are proposing a new system that could store enough wind energy to power 80,000 homes for a month. But researchers aren’t proposing fields lined with batteries. They’re using some of the Columbia River Basin’s natural geography and compressed air.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The homes of the future will come with remarkably low heating bills. At least that's the hope of a Portland-based non-profit showcasing 13 super energy efficient homes in four Northwest states. The question is, can you afford to buy one of these houses? Correspondent Tom Banse has this report.

Tall, noisy wind turbines may not go over well in some urban areas. A Northwest company has developed residential-sized turbines to push renewable energy to cities. The portable turbines could also generate power during disasters.

Federal regulators say the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant is now back on course after an 11-year safety miscalculation. The new designation means the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington gets a more relaxed inspection and oversight status.

Between 2000 and 2011, workers at the nuclear plant used faulty estimates for how much radiation could escape during a crisis. That mistake and others were found in an inspection just last year.

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