energy

COOS BAY, Ore. -- Federal regulators visited the site of a proposed liquefied natural gas facility near Coos Bay, Oregon Wednesday. Regulators say the Jordan Cove energy project will need to submit a new application now that it is proposing to export natural gas instead of importing it. Amelia Templeton reports.

Sec. Salazar Announces New Rules for Wind Farms To Protect Wildlife

Mar 23, 2012
Photo credit: Wikimedia user Harvey McDaniel / Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration released new rules Friday for protecting wildlife from wind farms.

In a morning news conference, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the voluntary rules offer ways to reduce the number of birds and bats that are harmed by wind farms. They focus on choosing sites with low wildlife risks, and designing the sites to avoid disturbing habitat.

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / Northwest News Network

BELLINGHAM -- SSA Marine has submitted a permit application to build a bulk export terminal in Bellingham.

If approved, the terminal will be large enough to handle up to 54 million metric tons per year.

That could include wheat and grains but the majority will be coal. It will be delivered by train from mines in Wyoming and Montana – and then shipped out of Washington to Asian markets.

Ashley

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Electric car owners in Washington state would pay a $100 fee under a measure headed to the governor's desk. The aim is to offset the gas taxes these drivers are not paying. The bill passed Thursday night in one of the final votes of this year's regular session of the Washington Legislature, as Tom Banse reports.

Landowner Caught In Middle Of Wind Moratorium

Mar 5, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

BOISE, Idaho -- Wind energy is facing some tough opposition in one Northwest state. Idaho lawmakers are hearing concerns that utilities and their customers are paying too much for power because of subsidies for wind energy. But on the other side of the argument, there are some who benefit from wind. Aaron Kunz reports.

Photo by: Eric Hunt / Wikimedia Commons

BOISE, Idaho -- Some Idaho legislators are concerned about a bill that reduces county control over the oil and gas industry.

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee grilled industry leaders and stakeholders Wednesday over legislation that gives the state control to regulate the natural gas industry.

Coal Export Terminal Opponents Submit Petition

Mar 1, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Some Washington citizens are voicing opposition about plans to build three new coal export terminals in their communities. Opponents of those proposals delivered more than 40,000 signatures to the state capitol in Olympia Wednesday.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

BOISE, Idaho — A controversial bill that would stop the wind energy industry for two years has narrowly passed an Idaho House panel.

The House Local Government Committee passed the measure late Wednesday. The vote followed nearly four hours of testimony from supporters and opponents.

This bill doesn’t do away with government subsidies for wind farms. But it does put the brakes on an industry that has seen tremendous growth over the past several years.

Photo credit: C-SPAN / Image courtesy of C-SPAN

PASCO, Wash. – Washington state officials are reacting negatively to the possibility that there might be a delay to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s massive waste treatment plant. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu raised that prospect in comments last week.

Image courtesy of C-SPAN

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant has been scheduled to begin operations in 2019. But U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that the southeast Washington facility might not start on time.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford Nuclear Reservation managers say they have contained a few drips of radioactive condensation found near a waste container. Federal Department of Energy officials say the contamination did not get off site, and is not a danger to workers at the southeast Washington facility.

Photo by: justmaketheshift.idaho.gov / Northwest News Network

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has created a nuclear energy commission to look at the future role of the Idaho National Laboratory.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Iberdrola Renewables, one of the Northwest's biggest wind and solar power companies, let go about 50 workers out of a nationwide staff of more than 900. The cuts affect 25 workers based at its North American headquarters in Portland. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Energy company Iberdrola Renewables cited multiple factors for a decision to scale back on new projects. That led directly to layoffs in engineering, construction and development.

Wikimedia user: TobinFricke / Wikimedia Commons

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy is starting work on a plan to build a 30-mile natural gas pipeline to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. The announcement Monday includes few details but the pipeline would likely go under the Columbia River.

Hanford’s waste treatment plant is going to need a lot of power. After all, its purpose is to mix radioactive sludge with glass material to form molten liquid. That brew, once cooled, would form huge glass logs for long-term storage.

SEATTLE - Business lobbies have pushed hard against global warming proposals in Congress. But a group of Northwest companies says tackling climate change will be good for business. They're calling on lawmakers to support an energy bill sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman. Among the key elements of the proposal is a cap-and-trade system. It would make industries pay for the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses they release into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. Sarah Severn with Nike says that's an important step toward a clean-energy economy.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Columbia Generating Station in Richland, Washington, has been coming increased federal scrutiny lately. Washington's only commercial nuclear power plant has had six unplanned shutdowns in the last two years. The National Regulatory Commission held a hearing about the plant's performance Tuesday.

LYNNWOOD, Wash. – If you use electric heat, your utility may be willing to pay you to upgrade to a more efficient system. They're targeting the roughly one million Northwest households that use electric baseboard heaters to stay cozy and warm. The hot new thing in home heating is called the “ductless heat pump.” Never heard of that before? Neither had we. So we sent correspondent Tom Banse to find out what a ductless heat pump is.

RICHLAND, Wash. - The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is famously home to 53 million gallons of radioactive sludge. But over it's long history, the site has also collected scads of work materials, lab supplies and clothing that are also contaminated. Now, federal and state officials have agreed on a new set of deadlines for cleaning up that tricky waste.

SALEM, Ore. – In February, Oregon lawmakers voted to reign in a renewable energy tax credit program. The incentives had turned out to be far more generous than anyone intended. One of the new rules in place curbs the ability of companies to receive multiple tax credits by simply breaking up a larger project into several smaller ones. But that hasn't stopped at least one major player in the renewable energy industry from making the case for multiple versions of Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Nuclear Reservation recently accepted another spent nuclear reactor from the U.S. Navy. The reactors travel by barge from the naval shipyard in Bremerton, along the Washington Coast and up the Columbia River to Richland.

Tom Banse

A new nuclear power plant proposed near the Idaho-Oregon border cleared its first hurdle Monday. But, groundbreaking is still years away because many more local and federal approvals are needed.

Oil refiner Tesoro is investigating the deadly Friday morning explosion in Anacortes. But the company does not yet have an explanation for the incident. The blast at the oil refinery killed four Tesoro workers and gravely injured three others. Senior Vice President Lynn Westfall said in a press conference Friday that the explosion occurred near a heating and cooling area. 

The National Park Service, community leaders, and a Northwest Washington Indian tribe marked a major milestone Friday toward removing two dams on the Elwha River. They're on the north Olympic Peninsula.

The US Department of Energy is planning how and to what extent to clean up Hanford's leaking storage tanks, treat radioactive waste and deal with a contaminated reactor. The current preferred alternatives don't call for a full clean up of the site.

Twenty community members testified. Many, like Marilyn Cohen, also spoke out against having any further waste shipped to Hanford for storage and processing.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray had tough words Thursday for federal Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. She's angry over the decision by the Obama Administration to take Nevada's Yucca Mountain off the table as a possible nuclear waste storage site. Murray says that decision could push back cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Or she says it could mean Hanford becomes a permanent storage site for dangerous nuclear waste.

HAMBURG, Germany – It's no accident that roughly half of the world's installed solar panels aim at the sky in this relatively cloudy, northern country. Investors in German solar power arrays, wind farms and methane digesters can count on significantly higher rates-of-return than alternative investments such as bonds or savings accounts.

OLYMPIA, Wash. --Millions of Northwest electricity customers have the option to pay a little bit extra on their monthly bills to support “green energy.” In the coming years, that voluntary option could take a back seat to a mandatory, but invisible charge on electric bills. Policymakers along the West Coast are working on a new green energy incentive. It relies not on tax dollars, as is traditional, but rather on ratepayer dollars. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on how it would work.

RICHLAND, Wash. - The Obama Administration says it plans to appoint a blue ribbon panel soon to determine the fate of the nation's radioactive waste. For years now the waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been destined for a deep hole in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. But as he promised in his campaign, President Obama stripped funding for Yucca. Now, Hanford officials are wondering where all the high-level waste in Washington State will go. Richland Correspondent Anna King reports.

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