energy

Tedder / Wikimedia Commons

President Obama has blocked a Chinese company from building wind farms in northeastern Oregon. the president cited national security concerns at a nearby Navy facility.

Residents along the Oregon Coast are big supporters of wave energy, according to survey results released today. Developers have identified Oregon as one of the best places in the United States to install wave energy buoys.

The survey asked coastal 400 residents, from Tillamook to Brookings, what they thought of building new infrastructure in the ocean to capture energy from waves. 78 percent said they supported more development. Support dropped to 61 percent when people were asked about development in their communities.

Oregon will soon be home to the first large-scale wave research site in the United States. A $4 million grant from the Department of Energy is helping fund the facility.

The project will be connected to the electrical grid on-shore so that researchers can test how much power the buoys convert into electricity. Belinda Batten is with Oregon State University and will direct the facility. She says the project will help developers make wave energy more commercially available with large-scale technology.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

A federal energy regulator sided with wind energy producers in their dispute with Idaho Power. Earthfix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Annawjacbos / Wikimedia Commons

A wind tower manufacturer says it’s closing plants in Washington and Nebraska. Manufacturing company Katana Summit is looking for a buyer for its operations in the two states. If that doesn’t happen by November 1, the plants will shut down.

Multnomah County Conducting Coal Train Study

Sep 10, 2012

Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen has ordered county officials to study the health impacts that coal exports could have on area residents. The county health department is expected to deliver its report next month.

Energy.gov

Light bulbs that rely on LED technology may soon be the best way to light your home. Courtney Flatt checked into a study that says LED light bulbs are becoming the best environmental choice.

Energy Northwest

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking into an 11-year emergency planning mistake at the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant. Officials at the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington used faulty estimates of how much radiation could escape during a crisis.

Brian Sayrs / Flickr

A survey by the website GasBuddy.com finds gasoline prices at the pump are stabilizing in the Northwest going into Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, they're stabilizing right around $4 per gallon for regular unleaded on average statewide . If it's any consolation, a study by a think tank in Seattle finds gasoline consumption in Oregon and Washington is "on a gentle downward slide."

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / EarthFix

Algae biofuels just got a boost. A small biotech company in Seattle announced Wednesday that they’ve secured enough funding to expand their research on how to cultivate blue-green algae to make fuel. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

tinatinatinatinatina / Flickr

With the Labor Day holiday weekend approaching, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas has once again topped $4 in Oregon and Washington. AAA says that puts the cost of gas in the Northwest at more than 25 cents a gallon above the national average.

Photo by Wikimedia user: Nieuw / Wikimedia Commons

Upgrading your windows may be one way to significantly lower your energy bill. Researchers in Richland, Washington, are comparing two homes to find out how much you can save. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has this report.

A wind company with operations in the Pacific Northwest has announced more layoffs this year as the industry prepares for the expiration of tax credits at the end of the year.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged.

Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines.

Operations manager Eric Melbardis says gravel landscaping protected the turbines from the fire.

Northwest News Network

American coal companies are looking to the Northwest as the fastest way to bring their product from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana to Asian markets. There are now 5 ports in Washington and Oregon considering coal export terminals. In part two of our series on Coal in the Northwest we head to the site of what could one day be the largest coal export facility on the west coast, Bellingham, Washington. 

Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management

There are now 5 ports in Washington and Oregon considering building export terminals to ship American coal to Asia. The coal would come from mines in Wyoming and Montana and would travel by train through the Northwest. That has governmental agencies, environmental groups, tribes, labor unions and industry in an increasingly fierce debate. As part of EarthFix’s ongoing coverage of coal in the Northwest, Ashley Ahearn brings us this story from Wyoming coal country.

A Washington congressmen returned to his hometown Wednesday to promote a bill protecting hydropower dams from removal. Courtney Flatt of EarthFix reports from Pasco, Washington.

The company behind a proposed coal export terminal in Grays Harbor has decided not to go ahead with the project. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

The Washington coast is home to some of the strongest tidal currents in the country. Some want to harness those tides for power. Ashley Ahearn reports a proposed tidal power facility in Puget Sound is running into some trouble.

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / Northwest News Network

The Department of Energy estimates that 350 billion KWH of energy are flushed down drains in the form of heated water. King County is one of the first counties in the nation to try to do something about all that wasted heat energy. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn reports.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Electric utilities in the Northwest have overachieved in meeting requirements to add renewable energy to their portfolios. That's according to fresh regulatory filings.

Study: "Megadrought" The New Normal In The West

Jul 30, 2012
Beverly Law

The drought that hit the West from 2000-2004 is not only the worst in 800 years, but it could be the new “normal."  That’s according to new research in the journal Nature Geoscience.

You’d have to go back to the middle ages to find a period as dry as 2000-2004 in the American West. Snowpack decreased. Crop productivity in much of the west went down by 5 percent. And that’s not the worst of it, the researchers say. Grasses, plants and trees suck up about 30 percent of our CO2 emissions in North America. In the Northwest, that percentage is even higher.

A campaign is kicking off in the Northwest to build support for coal exports. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports includes major mining companies, railways and labor groups, all signing on to support coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington. The group is launching newspaper, radio, and television ads.

Kevin Mooney

Natural gas customers in the Northwest will pay even less to heat their homes this winter. That was the message Thursday from Oregon's three largest natural gas utilities. They issued their prediction at a meeting of the state’s Public Utility Commission.

A new poll finds that most residents in the Northwest are supportive of transporting coal through the region for export to Asia. DHM Research conducted the poll for Earthfix.

Department of Energy

A new federal report says managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation respond appropriately to most concerns brought up by employees. But the study says sometimes officials at the southeast Washington site don’t explain well enough to employees how they resolve each concern. The report also says initial interviews with concerned employees were often incomplete or too abbreviated to do a proper investigation later.

A new study has found that increased coal train traffic could adversely affect Pacific Northwest communities. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Columbia River Towns May Team Up To Export Coal - Part 2

Jul 10, 2012

We brought you the story of the Northwest’s only coal export proposal that would rely on two different ports on the Columbia River, with a profile of the Eastern Oregon town of Boardman, where coal would be be delivered by train and loaded onto Columbia River barges. Now, EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita takes a look at a port near Clatskanie Oregon, where that coal would be transferred to ocean-going ships for delivery to Asia.

Only one of the Northwest’s various coal export proposals would rely on two different ports. That has residents in a pair of Columbia River towns in wondering if coal will be good for their communities. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt has the first part of our story in Boardman.

Photo by Scott Granneman / Flickr

This week crews are cleaning up about 30 train cars full of coal that overturned near Mesa, in Eastern Washington. The accident has raised questions about proposed increased train shipments of coal through the nearby Columbia River Gorge. Correspondent Anna King has more.

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