Tuesday, May 15, 2007

WWF: Global Warming Demands Response

In a stark warning, the Geneva, Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund said the worst effects of global warming could be avoided by beginning a "wholesale shift from fossil fuels" within five years, according to a Reuters story by Laura MacInnis distributed by the Environmental News Network (via Sustainability in Hawai'i). The group called for a coordinated effort by governments to set national targets for increasing clean alternative energy sources like wind and solar (more info on such a U.S. proposal here).


  • Wind developer Airtricity signed an agreement with TXU Wholesale to provide the output from a $300-million, 209-megawatt (MW) wind farm on 30,000 acres near Roscoe, Tex. Comments Airtricity North America CEO Declan Flanagan. “Airtricity is playing a leading role in helping Texas and America meet its fast-growing energy needs. As electricity demand and natural gas prices continue to rise policymakers and businesses like TXU are seeing the benefit of tapping into Texas’s vast wind energy resource.”

  • South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) convened a group of experts to find out how to harness the world-class winds of that state. Ben Shouse's article in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader provides an excellent summary of the discussion and some of the major obstacles. At the top of the list? A lack of high-voltage transmission lines, a long-standing problem not just for wind, but for the electricity industry as a whole, that is gradually making its way higher on the U.S. energy policy agenda. Dirk Lammers' AP story on the meeting, by contrast, quoted Brad Barton of the U.S. Department of Energy as focusing on the need for more stable tax incentives for wind development. The Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group, has a nice chart showing how on-off availability of incentives has caused boom-and-bust cycles in the industry.

  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman spoke favorably about alternative energy before a ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency. Key quote: "We must diversify our energy portfolios to include more alternative and renewable energy sources including biofuels, solar, wind and even nuclear. This will relieve pressure on energy markets and yield positive environmental benefits."

  • Nebraska lawmakers approved a bill to encourage wind projects in the state.

  • Wind developer PPM Energy will dedicate the 200-MW Big Horn project May 21 in Bickleton, Wash. Here's the full text of a media advisory we received today on this event, except for directions included in the invitation link above. Of special interest: the dedication will include live raptors (birds of prey) that are used in wildlife training for wind farm employees.

    Klickitat County Bickleton Carousel Museum
    PPM Energy MSR Public Power Agency BPA

    Jan Johnson, PPM Energy, (503) 796-7070, jan.johnson@ppmenergy.com
    Julie Yamamoto, CMD for PPM Energy, (503) 488-4289, jyamamoto@cmdagency.com

    May 15, 2007

    Big Horn Wind Power Project Celebrates Partners for a Powerful Future
    Energy industry leaders, community members and schoolchildren dedicate new wind farm on May 21

    Big Horn Wind Power Project

    Energy leaders, schoolchildren and the community will gather in the rolling wheat fields and ranch lands of Bickleton, Wash., to dedicate the Northwest's newest wind farm. The Big Horn Wind Power Project is one of the region's largest wind farms and a model for sensitive land use and conservation. Along with more than 500 community members, a live golden eagle, red-tailed hawk and other rehabilitated raptors used in educational programs at wind farms will join in the celebration.

    Monday, May 21, 2007
    10:30 a.m.: Speaker program begins
    11:30 a.m.: Picnic lunch, wind turbine tours for the public and a special encounter with several live raptors

    Bickleton, Wash., a three-hour drive east of Portland, Ore.
    See directions in Logistics section below.

    With 133 turbines and a 200-megawatt (MW) capacity, the Big Horn Wind Power Project is one of the largest wind power developments in the state of Washington and the Columbia River Gorge region. Big Horn produces enough clean wind electricity to power about 60,000 homes each year. In addition, economic and environmental benefits include the following:

    An infusion of jobs and economic activity to a rural town of 90 people
    Wheat farmers and ranchers get a boost through land lease payments, while 98 percent of the leased land remains available for traditional uses.

    PPM Energy sponsored the local high school shop class to build and place 250 bluebird boxes in the region. Bickleton is known as the "Bluebird Capital of the World," and the birds are a source of local pride and tourism.

    455 scenic acres are set aside as a long-term wildlife habitat conservation area

    Speakers include:

    Rachel Shimshak, Renewable Northwest Project
    Ty Daul, PPM Energy
    Allen Short, MSR Public Power Agency
    Brian Silverstein, Bonneville Power Administration
    U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington by special video message
    Local and state representatives


    Huge American flag mounted on an 80-meter-tall white wind turbine

    Live raptors with Blue Mountain Wildlife and PPM staff. Birds that have been rehabilitated at the center play a major role in wildlife training for wind farm employees. Experts will be available to interview on this topic.

    Bluebird boxes for two species of bluebirds thriving in and around the site through a joint effort by PPM Energy and the community of Bickleton. Interview community leaders and schoolchildren who built the bluebird boxes.

    Learn about 455 scenic acres set aside to conserve wildlife habitat.

    Attendance is expected to top 500 people as the surrounding community and all school children in the county will be present.

    Print-quality images of the Big Horn Wind Power Project and b-roll of the local school's bluebird box program are available in advance from Julie Yamamoto, CMD for PPM Energy, (503) 223-6794, jyamamoto@cmdagency.com.

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