Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.


  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Future Of New England’s Power
  • QUICK NEWS, October 24: Small Wins In Climate Fight Point The Way To Victory; Seeing The Real Wind At Last; Al Gore Calls Florida Solar Amendment “Phoney Baloney”

  • Weekend Video: The Most Unlikely Eco-Warriors Of All Time
  • Weekend Video: A New Energy Vision
  • Weekend Video: Solutions – Solar
  • Weekend Video: Solutions – Wind

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-This Is How To Beat Climate Change. Now Get To It.
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-China To Build World’s Biggest Solar Panel Project
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Europe’s Ocean Wind Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Australia’s Huge Ocean Energy Opportunity


  • TTTA Thursday-How Climate Change Is A Health Insurance Problem
  • TTTA Thursday-World Wind Can Be A Third Of Global Power By 2030
  • TTTA Thursday-First U.S. Solar Sidewalks Installed
  • TTTA Thursday-Looking Ahead At The EV Market

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: 'The future grid' and aggregated distributed energy resources
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Renewable Portfolio Standards offer billions in benefits
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Powered by PTC, wind energy expected to keep booming

  • TODAY’S STUDY: On The Way To 100% New Energy In Hawaii
  • QUICK NEWS, October 18: The Lack Of Climate Change In The Election; Trump And Clinton On Climate Change And New Energy; New Energy Keeps Booming
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews


    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns


    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart




      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.


    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, October 25:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Hooking Up With Solar
  • QUICK NEWS, October 25: Will Voters Back Trump’s Coal Or Clinton’s Climate Action On November 8?; Solar Building Corporate Balance Sheets; New Wires For More Wind Means Lower Power Prices

    Friday, December 26, 2014


    Idaho Power's vital Boardman-to-Hemingway transmission line wrestles with permitting; Instead of delivering renewables, it’s struggling over sage grouses and ground squirrels.

    Herman K. Trabish, October 14, 2014 (Utility Dive)

    There are two reasons the 300-mile Boardman-to-Hemingway transmission project is crucial to the energy future of the High Plains and the Pacific Northwest.

    First, by connecting to Pacificorp’s massive, still unfinished Energy Gateway transmission system, the 500 kilovolt, alternating current line will deliver energy generated on the High Plains to load centers and lucrative electricity markets in the Pacific Northwest.

    Second, it offers greater potential for the connected eastern and western grids to deliver abundant renewables generation to California’s insatiable energy appetite.

    “We are trying to interconnect to the Mid-Columbia grid, the Mid-C market,” Idaho Power 500 Kilovolt Projects Manager Doug Dockter told Utility Dive. “The Pacificorp balancing authority is farther south and the transmission is critical for them because they are trying to use it to work their [Energy Imbalance Market] with the California Independent System Operator.”

    The regional loads are complimentary, Dockter said. Idaho Power’s demand from air conditioning and agricultural irrigation causes a summer peak. But for much of the rest of the Northwest, demand peaks in the winter due to the need for space heating.

    “There is usually extra energy in the Northwest for us in the summer and when they are peaking in the winter, we sell to them,” Dockter said. “With access to the Mid-C market, we could satisfy regional generation needs without building new generation.” In conjunction with the Energy Gateway and the Energy Imbalance Market, Dockter said, intermittent wind and solar resources can be more reliably interconnected across a greater region.

    But, he added, “we first have to get the permits.”

    The first complications

    Idaho Power began permitting Boardman-to-Hemingway in 2008. Then it ran into complications and stopped. The utility spent a year working with stakeholders along the route, and resumed trying to coordinate state and federal permitting processes in 2010. “We have been going through those ever since,” Dockter said.

    Idaho Power is the project lead. The Bonneville Power Administration and Pacificorp, both would-be beneficiaries of the line, are helping fund permitting.

    The federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is led by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM must provide a draft environmental impact study (EIS), then a final EIS, and finally a Record of Decision (ROD). Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) is the state-level jurisdiction. The two processes, Dockter said, were not designed to be run together and do not complement each other.

    Boardman-to-Hemingway was one of seven projects designated for special attention by the Obama Administration’s Rapid Response Transmission Team (RRTT) in 2009. It was supposed to streamline the process by driving cooperation between the federal permitting agencies.

    “The RRTT has given us access to people in Washington, D.C., but it has not been effective for getting permits,” Dockter said. “The RRTT’s purpose was to make sure those nine agencies involved in permitting are working well together. What we are noticing is that the BLM has been ineffective in managing its own process. That is what is hampering [Boardman-to-Hemingway].”

    The Bureau of Land Management

    The BLM’s organizational structure is ineffective for permitting multi-state transmission, Dockter believes.

    “The field offices in each area are responsible for their little chunk of ground. When you pass through multiple field offices, you have to make sure they are willing to coordinate and cooperate," he said. "That is extremely challenging."

    Dockter, who has been involved in Boardman-to-Hemingway since 2008, said inconsistent management “has created many issues.” The utility has “gone through five different BLM project managers” since the project started, he added.

    While NEPA permitting requires the weighing of multiple alternative routes, Oregon's EFSC is standards-based. “We have to submit the route and prove we can meet 28 different standards to get their site certificate,” Dockter said.

    Until the BLM issues its ROD “sometime in 2016,” Dockter explained, the final route is uncertain. BLM’s preliminary analysis provides a “likely” route.

    But to advance the process by taking on the rigorous and costly EFSC certification procedures, Idaho Power must guess which proposed segments of the line might endure final BLM scrutiny.

    The BLM, for its part, noted that multi-state projects like Boardman-to-Hemingway are naturally complicated.

    "The Boardman-to-Hemingway Transmission Line proposal involves working with numerous federal, state, and local agencies across multiple jurisdictions in six counties and two states," BLM National Project Manager Tamara Gertsch told Utility Dive. Nonetheless, the agency remains "on track to release the draft Environmental Impact Statement this fall."

    Sage grouses, ground squirrels, and bombs

    Two of the project’s biggest impediments are the greater sage grouse and the Washington ground squirrels that live on Boardman’s U.S. Naval weapons systems training facility. “The big challenge with the sage grouse is the unknown,” Dockter said. His efforts await the results of a BLM study of Oregon and Idaho sage grouse areas. “We don’t know how it might impact what we are trying to do.”

    Oregon’s Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership, or SageCon, is also assessing sage grouse concerns. The unknowns there are even more problematic for Dockter because directives will likely not come until after Boardman-to-Hemingway is permitted.

    Observers say Idaho Power and the Department of Defense are moving toward a route for the line along a road to the east of the Navy’s only Pacific Northwest live bombing range, but Dockter said there is no agreement.

    Three factors need to be reconciled, he explained. The first is Navy weapons training, the second is the endangered Washington ground squirrel habitat at the edge of the bombing range, and the third is high-value agricultural land across the road from the Navy facility.

    Stakeholders seem to have identified a viable corridor that follows a road on the east side of the bombing range. But they have not been able to agree on whether the line should be on the east or west side of the road.

    Once again, a final route may not come until after the BLM completes its NEPA analyses. “All the routes in that area are still in play,” Dockter said, “and we are working diligently to decide.”

    'Left holding the bag'

    In Idaho Power’s most recent Integrated Resource Plan, Dockter said, the two key strategies for advancing load service over the next ten years are the Boardman-to-Hemingway line and demand side management.

    “Both of those options are no-carbon resources and, especially with the EPA’s newly proposed 111 (d) requirements, it would be a huge advantage to build [Boardman-to-Hemingway]. But we can’t get this thing permitted,” Dockter said. “We are trying to do what is right. It is almost like there is in-fighting between branches of the government and we are left holding the bag.” click here for more


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