‘Incredible time for clean energy’

By JANET COOK

News staff writer

April 22, 2006

A clean energy forum on Tuesday sponsored by several local businesses drew a crowd of about 50 people to the auditorium in the Waucoma Building.

The keynote speaker was Rhys Roth of Olympia, Wash.-based Climate Solutions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the Pacific Northwest become a world leader in renewable energy.

“This is an incredible time for clean energy,” Roth said. “We are approaching the tipping point” in terms of clean energy technology reaching mass market status.

“We have the opportunity in the Northwest to be leaders in clean energy, to provide good jobs, to bring vitality to places that have been hurting, and to do it in a way that reduces our dependence on foreign oil,” Roth said.

Another speaker, Cylvia Hayes of 3E Strategies, a Bend-based organization focused on sustainable building, renewable energy and sustainable economic development, said she thinks Oregon is poised to play a central role in what she called “a revolution as significant as the industrial revolution.”

“The renewable energy industry in the U.S. is projected to grow to $180 billion annually over the next 15 years,” she said.

Roth and Hayes agreed that Oregon and the Northwest are at the leading edge of renewable resource technology and that the time is right to embrace renewable energy as an economic force.

“Our state has more diversity of renewable energy resources than any other state,” Hayes said, citing its prevalence of natural resources like wind, solar power and waves. Hayes and Roth also touted Oregon’s existing infrastructure of high-tech firms, which will play a large role in renewable energy technology. Oregon’s large agriculture base also provides renewable energy through biofuel, an alternative fuel that is becoming more widely used.

According to Hayes, sustainable energy is currently a $1.4 billion industry in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Other speakers at the forum included local business owner Maui Meyer, who talked about how he has incorporated the renewable resource mindset into his restaurants and the design and construction of the New Yasui Building. Dave Riley, Mt. Hood Meadows general manager, talked about how the ski resort purchased “green tags” — certificates which certify the use of renewable energy — to offset seven percent of its electric costs this year. Meadows also helped get other Northwest ski areas involved in renewable energy programs. Jaimes Valdez of Bonneville Environmental Foundation talked about green tags and other business incentive programs for renewable energy, and Tod LeFevre of Common Energy spoke about solar power use in homes and businesses locally.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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