Archive for May 2010

Cantwell Statement on Memorial Day

“For many of us, the best way to pay tribute to the men and women who have sacrificed in service to our country is to remember their stories. I remember my own father. He volunteered to serve in the Army Air Force during World War II, and flew missions over Europe. I remember the soldiers I met when visiting Iraq and those I’ve met touring Washington’s military bases. And I think of our military families – the children, siblings, parents and spouses who, on this day, are thinking of a loved-one in harm’s way on the other side of the world.

“Washington state has a proud history of involvement in and support for our nation’s Armed Forces. This Memorial Day, I especially celebrate the men and women from Washington who have given so much to our nation, including the thousands of citizen soldiers who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Volunteers all, they serve with the knowledge that they could one day have to pay the ultimate price to protect their country.”

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Talk About sales-On-Demand: New power sales keep wind turbines spinning

Northwest wind producers have sold rapidly increasing amounts of power on such a short-term basis since BPA introduced the option in December. Half-hour transactions in April hit their high point so far of 4,424 megawatt half-hours, or the equivalent of about four nuclear power plants worth of energy for a half-hour.

The May example was the first time the new program prevented the shutdown of wind turbines when the hydroelectric system ran out of capacity to offset changes in wind energy. The program has proved so successful BPA is now extending it indefinitely and looking for ways to apply it in other situations, such as when wind turbines produce considerably less energy than scheduled.

Its success illustrates how the region’s power system is swiftly evolving to handle the ups and downs in wind and the energy it produces.

“Wind generates power in a different way than the system was used to, so we’re making sure the power system changes with the times,” said Cathy Ehli, vice president of Transmission Marketing and Sales. “It’s critical that we continue to work with our partners in the region to pursue tools like this to make full use of the region’s renewable energy resources such as wind. This represents a big step forward.”

Traditional power plants provided such steady output that utilities long bought and sold electricity on an hourly basis. But wind is changing that because the energy it produces can vary sharply within mere minutes. So BPA in December expanded staff and adjusted operations to support power sales as frequently as every half-hour.

The change lets the 27 wind energy projects connected to BPA’s grid adjust their power sales more often to better match shifts in wind. They can sell extra wind power generated by unexpected gusts, while also relieving demands on hydroelectric dams to make up for sudden changes in wind generation.

The expanded use of “intra-hour scheduling” is a major part of BPA’s wind integration strategy,” said Elliot Mainzer, BPA’s executive vice president of Corporate Strategy. “We are working closely with other utilities in the region to expand the program and spread its benefits across the Northwest electricity grid.”

What happened May 12:

6:20 p.m. Wind gusts push wind energy generation 600 megawatts beyond what wind plants had scheduled to flow through BPA lines. BPA dials back generation from hydroelectric dams to accommodate the power.

6:25 p.m. BPA begins adjustments after wind farms sell 330 megawatts of the unexpected wind energy for the upcoming half-hour in four short-term transactions.

6:26 p.m. BPA nears limit of how far it can dial back hydroelectric generation without jeopardizing the stability of the power grid or protections for salmon. BPA warns that 85 percent of such reserve capacity is exhausted.

6:29 p.m. BPA warns that 90 percent of reserve capacity is exhausted. Notifies wind plants to shut down turbines in four minutes.

6:30 p.m. Half-hour power sales take effect, reducing pressure on reserves.

6:31 p.m. BPA cancels warning.

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City of Hoquiam Earns Municipal Excellence Award

When the program started in 2008 the city replaced approximately 1400 lineal feet of residential sidewalks. In 2009 over 2,100 lineal feet of sidewalks were replaced at 31 homes. There are 75 homeowners on the waiting list at the start of the 2010 season, and they anticipate completing 30-50 sidewalks this year.

Out of over 50 entries, Hoquiam’s entry was one of seven projects selected to receive an Excellence Award at AWC’s 77th Annual Conference. Entries are judged by subject category and each category has one winner. The awards are judged by individuals outside of AWC, who are selected for their knowledge of and enthusiasm for local government.

Now in their 20th year, the Municipal Excellence Awards are presented to cities that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in promoting community excellence. The competition recognizes a community’s achievement and encourages other cities to develop similar programs.

“The Municipal Excellence Award demonstrates the high level of innovation and commitment to developing strong communities by city officials across the state of Washington,” said AWC CEO Mike McCarty

AWC is proud of each of the cities that entered Municipal Excellence projects. It is that show of dedication and hard work that make Washington’s cities and towns so great.

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Washington Anglers can fish for free June 12-13

“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to revive an old hobby or to introduce friends and family to fishing,” said Craig Burley, fish division manager for WDFW. “Adults can introduce kids to fishing on a wide variety of waters around the state.”

Anglers have been catching daily limits of trout at lakes for the past month, and many rivers will open to trout fishing June 5 throughout the state. Other options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:

Hatchery chinook salmon in Washington’s ocean waters.
Lingcod on the coast and Puget Sound.
Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout eastern Washington.
Shad and sturgeon on the Columbia River.
Spring chinook salmon on tributaries to the lower Columbia River.
Hatchery steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River and on rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits and closures will still be in effect. Anglers will also be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead or sturgeon they catch.

Catch record cards and Fishing in Washington 2010/2011 sportfishing rules pamphlets are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.

The sportfishing rules pamphlet also is available on WDFW’s website at

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Washington State Patrol Prepares for Memorial Day Weekend

Although Washington State roadways are currently enjoying the lowest fatality rate since 1955, driving a car is still one of the biggest threats to the public’s safety. The three biggest contributors to serious injury and fatality collisions are impaired driving, speed, and lack of seatbelt usage. It is for these reasons that all available troopers will be out looking for these dangerous violations during this holiday weekend.

The WSP wants everyone to do their part this weekend – buckle-up, don’t drink and drive, slow down and share the road.

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Grays Harbor PUD Reports New Wind Reporting Station Up and Running in Ocean Shores

The wind reporting station is located on the PUD microwave tower about 30 feet above ground. It retrieves wind data and posts them every 10 minutes including wind speed and wind gusts. The technology includes a data-logger attached to a PUD server that provides the means to post the data on the web for everyone to use. To view the data, go to and select “state” under “observation maps” located in the left hand navigation. A map of Washington will be displayed with observation sites. Go to Ocean Shores on the map and click on the site “SEWWFO Ocean Shores.”

“This is a great tool that provides Grays Harbor PUD and the general public with wind information from the beach,” said Rick Lovely, General Manager of Grays Harbor PUD. “This additional information helps the PUD to make decisions regarding our response to power outages in powerful wind storms. We are able to evaluate conditions and make informed choices about dispatching crews,” said Lovely.

“We greatly appreciate the dedicated effort of the National Weather Service to ensure we have accurate and timely weather data. It is a great service to the PUD and to the residents and businesses living in the North Beach area,” said Lovely.

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Most WA Students Skip Summer Learning Programs

"A lot of times, it’s easier to see poverty in more urban communities, and it’s a lot harder in rural communities because it’s a little more hidden. So, it’s great that they’re reaching out to the rural communities in Washington, so that those kids can also have opportunities."

Danny McDonald is superintendent of the Touchet School District near Walla Walla, in an unincorporated area with fewer than 300 children, many of them lower-income. He says, particularly in this economy, grants like "Feed Your Brain" come to the rescue.

"We’re a small, rural school – and summer school for us is important, but it’s one of those issues that we really need help on, because we don’t have any extra money to take care of our summer school program."

A list of "Feed Your Brain" grant recipients is online at

In a new national survey by state, the Afterschool Alliance found four out of five kids in Washington are not enrolled in summer learning programs. The reasons are primarily cost and, in some areas, a lack of programs – although almost 80 percent of parents surveyed said they would support public funding for summer learning. The Afterschool Alliance study is online at

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