Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Energy News Digest for December 18, 2007

All the links in today’s news digest lead to current stories. Please note that some media organizations update their web sites regularly, which may result in broken links in the future.


- BPA offers interim fixes to utilities
- Puget Sound Energy – Merger Takes Another Step
- Domenici – Another Push for Nuclear Power.
- Officials pick site for carbon-free coal plant
- Walla Walla Union Bulletin Editorial – Judge goes too far in trying to manage dams
- Columbia Basin water plan includes $5.9M for 2 tribes
- More Water Coming To Wenatchee River Watershed
- News Tribune Opinion – The miracle at Swan Creek.
- Literally and Figuratively – Storm brings windfall to paper mill in Hoquiam
- California backers of targets for renewable energy can gather signatures
- Pacific Gas & Electric agrees to buy power from Canadian firm's proposed 'wave park'
- Another wave energy effort pitched for Humboldt coast
- Food and Fuel Compete for Land
- Light Bulbs, Gasoline Will Change with U.S. Energy Bill Passage
- Chelan County PUD Joins Emissions Trading Exchange
- High-tech brings rural towns back to life
- FCC set to decide on Media-ownership today
- $200,000 Cut From City Of Shelton’s Budget Prior To Adoption
- Energy prices mostly to blame for inflation
- Car crashes into Olympia's Oyster House
- Cantwell aide leaving – Michael Meehan

These and links to more stories in today’s Energy News Digest


Toady • \TOH-dee\ • noun – One who flatters in the hope of gaining favors: sycophant

The board room was packed with second tier employees, hanging on every word of the cigar-chomping Chief Executive Officer. “Jump,” he barked. “How high,” the toadies replied. “Speak,” he bellowed. The entire room erupted into an echoing “Woof,” after which one very tiny voice (Michigan Frog) piped “ribbet!”



BPA offers interim fixes to utilities – The agency would pay $131 million to private companies, resulting in rate relief for some customers (The Oregonian)

News Release – BPA proposes to get cash flowing back to Northwest utilities (Bonneville Power Administration)

Residential Exchange – Snohomish County PUD earns $19 million refund. The Bonneville Power Administration wants to write Snohomish County PUD a $19 million check, a refund of sorts for overcharging for the electricity it sells the utility. (Everett Herald)

UTILITY MERGER TAKES ANOTHER STEP – Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a regulated utility providing electric and natural gas service to the Puget Sound region, and a consortium of North American infrastructure investors today filed an application with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to request approval in connection with the proposed merger of Puget Energy that was announced on Oct. 26. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Puget Energy did solicit other acquisition proposals from approximately 20 potential purchasers, including U.S. utility companies, non-U.S. utility companies, other energy companies and infrastructure investors. No proposal was received that could reasonably be expected to result in a proposal superior to the definitive merger agreement with the consortium. Under the terms of the merger agreement, the consortium will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Puget Energy for $30 per share in cash, subject to the approval of Puget Energy's shareholders and certain regulatory approvals. The initial phase, Reynolds noted, involved the sale to the consortium of 12.5 million shares for an aggregate offering price of approximately $296 million. This infusion will fund PSE's ongoing construction program and working capital needs. The parties are continuing their efforts to complete the merger by the second half of 2008. (South Sound Business Examiner)

Domenici – Another Push for Nuclear Power. Senator Wants to Expand Federal Loan Guarantees for Plants (Washington Post)

Officials pick site for carbon-free coal plant (USA Today)

Montana – Mystic Lake Project near Fishtail. FERC Iissues First Hydroelectric License Using Integrated Licensing Process

United Kingdom – Householders face higher energy bills. Householders face higher energy bills in the New Year as npower becomes the latest provider to raise gas and electricity prices. (The Telegraph)

How's your customer service fitness? Take this quiz to find out (Utility Automation & Engineering)


Walla Walla Union Bulletin Editorial – Judge goes too far in trying to manage dams
It is particularly concerning because Judge James Redden seems to be fixated on breaching the Snake River dams. (Thanks to Ruthann Mogen for the tip)

New water agreement reached for Lake Roosevelt – Two Native American tribes joined farm, environmental, business and governmental interests Monday in reaching agreement on a plan to draw down Lake Roosevelt by one foot in a normal year to shore up supplies for fish and farms. (Tri-Cities Herald)

Columbia Basin water plan includes $5.9M for 2 tribes (Seattle Times)

MORE WATER COMING TO WENATCHEE RIVER WATERSHED – A new state rule will make more water available in the Wenatchee River watershed over the next 20 years. The rule changes approved last week by the state Department of Ecology will outline how water will be managed in the future, making additional water available for city and domestic uses, while at the same time improving protection of stream flows and existing water rights. (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee)

Southeastern Governors to Devise Drought Strategy (National Public Radio)

News Tribune Opinion – The miracle at Swan Creek. Not many city dwellers actually get to watch spawning salmon without leaving town. But Tacomans – and anyone else in these parts – can watch this marvel amazingly close to home.


Literally and Figuratively – Storm brings windfall to paper mill in Hoquiam (Daily World, via Examiner.com)

California backers of targets for renewable energy can gather signatures – Backers of a state ballot initiative to require a significant boost in renewable energy used by all utilities in California can begin collecting signatures, the secretary of state announced Monday. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Oregon – Wave energy firm shows promising financial growth (Portland Business Journal)

Pacific Gas & Electric agrees to buy power from Canadian firm's proposed 'wave park' (San Francisco Chronicle)

Another wave energy effort pitched for Humboldt coast (Times Standard, Eureka)

Start-Up Sells Solar Panels at Lower-Than-Usual Cost (NY Times)

Food and Fuel Compete for Land (NY Times)

News Release – Progress Energy Florida Signs Contract for Second Waste-Wood Plant (Progress Energy, via Yahoo! Finance)


Light Bulbs, Gasoline Will Change with U.S. Energy Bill Passage – The light bulbs in almost every U.S. home and the gasoline in many cars will be altered by energy legislation that the U.S. House of Representatives is set to pass today. (Bloomberg Business News)


CHELAN COUNTY P.U.D. JOINS EMISSIONS TRADING EXCHANGE – The Chelan County P.U.D. will join an exchange that will allow a portion of the power generated at Rocky Reach Dam to be traded to offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sources. With P.U.D. commissioners voting Monday to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, about 1.75 million megawatt hours generated at Rocky Reach since 2003 are eligible to be traded as carbon offset credits, which could be worth about $1.7 million to the P.U.D. (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee)

Seattle Post Intelligencer Columnist – Tote up your carbon footprint. Carbon is the new guilt.


High-tech brings rural towns back to life (Christian Science Monitor)

FCC: Nebraska Ranks Second in DSL Internet Deployment (SW Nebraska News – Ed Note: FCC surveys have been reported to be excessively optimistic about broadband penetration. Take this one with a grain of salt.)

Minnesota – Wi-Fi firm faces legal action over delays in St. Louis Park. The groundbreaking solar-powered, citywide wireless Internet service has run into constant delays. The City Council will vote Monday on its options. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune)

FCC set to decide on Media-ownership today (Seattle Times)


$200,000 CUT FROM CITY OF SHELTON’S BUDGET PRIOR TO ADOPTION – The Shelton City Commission has adopted the City's budget for 2008. The budget totals more than $55.8 Million ($55,865,168). This is $200,000 less than the budget presented last week during the City Commission's budget hearing. Due to a reduction in the projected development, city staff had to cut several things out of next year's budget. This includes $75,000 from the Street Fund, $70,000 in the Police Department, $50,000 in Park maintenance, nearly $26,500 from recreation, and several public information items such as the "Tollie" news letter and the radio show "Focus on Shelton." The specific details of the cuts are still being worked out but one police officer position will not be filled in 2008, and possibly a halftime employee in the Parks Department could be laid off. Department heads are still working with their departments on the specific cuts. The City Commission will look at the 2008 budget quarterly next year and make adjustments as needed, as well as plan for 2009. Some of the City's long term budgeting plans are contracting for fire services, going to voters for a tax increase, and if all else fails, service reductions. Mayor John Tarrant called the budget a wake up call. Commissioner Mike Byrne said the cuts get the city by for now but 2009 could be a real disaster. And Commissioner Dawn Pannell said the budget is the most fiscally responsible thing the City can do right now. Copies of the City of Shelton's 2008 Budget are available at the Shelton Civic Center. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

Energy prices mostly to blame for inflation (Seattle Times)

Car crashes into Olympia's Oyster House (KOMO-TV, Seattle)

Cantwell aide leaving – Michael Meehan, Sen. Maria Cantwell's chief of staff and architect of her 2006 re-election victory, will leave the job at the end of next month. (Seattle Times)


Fortune Magazine’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business. Ah, what a dumb year it was! Fortune chose the absolutely dumbest of the dumb that the gods of fate and humor delivered into our laps - and yours - this past year

Man Drives Through Car Wash During Police Chase

Money Found Hidden In Walls During Home's Renovation – A contractor who helped discover bundles of cash totaling $182,000 hidden behind bathroom walls says the homeowner should turn the money over to him -- or at least share it.

1914 Christmas Card Defines Snail Mail – Intended Recipient Deceased

City's Christmas Tree Comes From Cemetery – Employee Remorseful About Cutting Down Tree