Monday, January 30, 2023

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Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.

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Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Novel Solar-Wind-Battery Power Plant in OR a 'Needle Mover' for Renewables

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022   

A first-of-its-kind hybrid power plant with wind, solar and battery storage has opened in Oregon, and the plant could be a model as power grids across the country decarbonize.

The Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility is a partnership between Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy Resources and is located in Lexington, about 30 miles south of the Columbia River in Central Oregon.

Brett Sims, vice president of strategy, regulation and energy supply for Portland General Electric, said the facility will go a long way toward achieving Oregon's ambitious climate goals.

"That's a generating facility that literally has the capability to serve 100,000 households, which is roughly the equivalent of the energy requirements of a city the size of Salem or Eugene," Sims pointed out. "So when we add those types of facilities, that's a big needle mover."

Under a law passed last year, Oregon utilities are required to reduce carbon emissions by 100% by 2040, one of the most ambitious climate goals in the nation.

Jason Burwen, vice president of energy storage for the American Clean Power Association, said the sun does not always shine when the wind is blowing and vice versa, which is why the hybrid facility will look as if it is one resource with consistent output.

He noted one of the biggest challenges to wind and solar at the moment is a lack of transmission lines.

"Folks are trying to find efficiencies for how to get more resources online faster and hybridizing them," Burwen emphasized. "Putting them all together at one site can help speed up that process."

Burwen stressed we can build solar, wind and storage faster than any other clean resource. He added 2040 might seem far away, but building will have to start today to move utilities away from fossil-fuel sources by then.

"To meet a fully decarbonized power system requires us to build more wind and solar and storage than we ever have before at a pace that is greater than we have ever done before," Burwen concluded.

Support for this reporting was provided by Solutions Journalism Network.


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