In the Northwest, Lots of Energy…Maybe

By December 26, 2008Energy

Scanning the papers and websites in Oregon, we see that energy development — or fierce opposition to energy development, as is too often the case — remains a major issue in the Northwest.

Daily Astorian, December 9, “LNG foe earns state role“:

Liquefied natural gas opponents got a boost Monday when Oregon’s Attorney General-elect John Kroger announced his appointment of Columbia Riverkeeper Executive Director Brent Foster to his executive team at the Oregon Department of Justice.

Foster will oversee environmental crime for Kroger and will serve as his primary adviser on environment, energy, and natural resource policy. Foster was one of three special counsels Kroger appointed Monday.

Foster is worshipped and reviled in Clatsop County for his anti-LNG activism.

We didn’t follow the Oregon AG race, so don’t know if the winning campaign slogan was, “Keep Cold with Kroger.”

The Olympian, December 24, editorial, “Upgrade to power grid wise investment“:

The wind farms are in rural, remote areas of Oregon and Washington, east of the Cascade Mountains, in the Columbia River Gorge and far from the high-growth populations centers of Puget Sound and the Willamette Valley. BPA doesn’t have the transmission capacity to deliver the green wind power to homes and businesses in the Interstate 5 corridor where 85 percent of the region’s electricity demand resides.

But Bonneville has mapped out a plan to build about 600 miles of high voltage transmission lines at a cost of about $1.5 billion. Several of the projects are engineered and ready for construction. Others require more environmental review.

Now is the time for the region’s members of Congress to make sure BPA transmission expansion projects are included in the president’s economic recovery-green energy stimulus package.

President-elect Obama has included upgrading the power grid in developing an infrastructure/stimulus plan, so The Olympian’s pitch has merit. Of course, a power grid to serve wind farms can also serve additional coal-fired power production, or even LNG-fired plants, so everybody wins.

Portland Business-Journal, December 26, “Organizations Overcome Tough Times“:

In the past two years, seven solar energy manufacturers have committed $1.5 billion in capital investments and 2,000 high-wage jobs in Oregon.

The biggest of those, Germany-based SolarWorld AG, opened its 480,000 square foot Hillsboro plant in October, the largest solar cell manufacturing plant in North America.

The wind energy industry, while not a major source of manufacturing jobs, has continued a surge of wind farms in the state. As of November, nearly 30 wind farms were either in operation or under development, with a capacity of 3,000 megawatts of electricity.


And more from the Business Journal:

Emerging technologies have also showed strong growth.

The state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries as of November issued 15 drilling permits for geothermal electricity projects, the first issued by the agency in 15 years.

New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies in 2008 received a $2 million federal grant to build the first of 10 electric-generating buoys it hopes to deploy along the coast at Reedsport in 2009. The buoys are expected to generate about 1.5 million megawatts of wave energy — enough to power 1,500 homes annually. [Assuming it’s 1.5 megawatts, not 1.5 million.]

Great! Except, really, do we want 1,500 more homes along the Southern Oregon coast? And do the buoys emit whale-disturbing vibrations?

Seriously, the development of these alternative energy forms is great news. A comprehensive energy strategy should embrace all sorts of sources of production, especially as they become more efficient and competitive and, in some cases, produce baseload electricity.

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