Regional power supplier plugging into wind energy

The region’s largest wholesaler of electrical power is plugging into a new wind-energy project, part of a multi-year plan to substantially increase wind’s contribution to the grid.

“Public demand in the Northwest for sources of clean, renewable power has never been stronger,” said Steve Wright, top boss at the Bonneville Power Administration. Wright called the new 50-megawatts of wind power “a sound business decision; it’s cost-competitive, fits with the agency’s goals of serving the region’s needs, and helps BPA maintain its near-zero carbon footprint.”

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Montana asks Iceland for geothermal advice

Montana Senator Jon Tester recently extended an invitation to a delegation of business and government officials from Iceland to visit his state. The group has planned to visit Montana next month in order to assess the possibility of geothermal power in the region.

Senator Tester co-sponsored a bill on geothermal energy later this year. As part of the National Geothermal Initiative Act of 2007, experts were brought before the Senate Energy Committee to consider the possibility of using geothermal power, like Iceland. Expert testimony contributed to the country setting a goal to use geothermal resources to power at least 20 per cent of the energy needs in the US by 2030.

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Wind energy is the solution

A 7/29/07 IR editorial outlined the myriad of coal plants that have been shelved recently. It concluded that without coal-fired generation, pressure for nuclear power rather than energy conservation wind, solar and other renewable energy will only grow. It indicated we would do well to “think hard about all our alternatives because doing without electricity isn’t going to be one of them.”

Thankfully, we have thought hard. The Western Governors Association has several fine studies on energy. Its 19 state area will need 30,000 megawatts of new energy by 2015. We can obtain more than three times that amount without increasing coal or nuclear power. Instead, energy needs can be met by conservation, and fuel-cost-free renewable energy from the sun, wind, geothermal, etc.

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