Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Play

Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.

Play

Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.

Play

The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

Transmission Lines: Often Ignored, But Key to NW's Renewable Future

Play

Thursday, February 2, 2023   

Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage power lines to facilitate the transition.

An Oregon law requires utilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040. However, the Northwest's aging transmission lines will need a reboot to ensure wind and solar resources on the east side of the Cascades make their way west.

Emily Moore, director of climate and energy at the Sightline Institute, said lines can take 10 to 20 years to build, and the grid is nearing capacity.

"We need to be looking much farther into the future in order to start those complicated processes now," Moore contended. "And not wait a decade or 20 years until it's much more urgent."

Moore argued creating a plan for building power lines in the region is going to be critical. She pointed out a glut of wind and solar projects in the Northwest cannot come online because there is a lack of transmission capacity.

There are several hurdles to siting transmission lines. Negotiations are required with landowners and tribes, and not every community likes the idea of having tall lines stretch across the land.

Fred Heutte, senior policy associate for the Northwest Energy Coalition in Portland, said public engagement is key, especially with the communities where the lines may end up going.

"Their voices are really important and getting benefits to those communities as a result of the new transmission is also very important, and being protective of the environmental and cultural resources that may be affected by new transmission is also important," Heutte outlined. "All of those things come into play here."

Moore noted the biggest transmission line player in the region is the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal entity which owns about three-quarters of the high-voltage lines in the Northwest.

"We do have, of course, our Northwest congressional delegation, which has influence over BPA and many folks think that they should be encouraging or at least engaging with BPA on more proactively building new lines," Moore emphasized.

She added states should do everything they can to maximize energy sources like rooftop solar, which reduce the need for transmission lines.

Disclosure: The Sightline Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Housing/Homelessness, and Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The VOTES Act also ensures the Commonwealth joins the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a multi-state consortium which aims to keep voter registration rolls up to date, encourage voter registration and prevent voter fraud. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting rights advocates in Massachusetts are applauding Governor Maura Healey's budgetary backing of new policies stemming from last year's passage of…


Social Issues

Many Nebraskans know how crucial a family caregiver is to one of their family members. Now AARP research has put a dollar value on that unpaid care - …

Social Issues

South Dakota is home to one of the nation's largest American Indian reservations, and the area is part of a movement among tribal nations to take …


According to a report from the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, the black lung benefit rate for a miner with no dependents is now 738-dollars a month. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

As the cost of food, medicine and rent continues to climb, new data shows the benefits miners receive are now 40% less than what they received in 1969…

Environment

With the cost of farmland up by more than 8% percent in North Carolina, the state's Black farmers are struggling to purchase additional acreage or …

Garrett Betts inspects his 275-gallon tank and trailer setup. Before Garrett built the trailer, he was hauling water with the tank in the bed of his truck.(Photo by Zachary Shephard)

Environment

By Zachary Shepherd and Kelsey Paulus for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Co…

Social Issues

Republican-sponsored bills and amendments in the Legislature would eliminate the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. More than 1.5-million …

Social Issues

Texas' GOP-dominated legislature is considering bills to flip the script on powers traditionally afforded home-rule cities, instead forcing them to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021