Work group tackles energy needs


News staff writer

September 9, 2006

The Oregon Renewable Energy Working Group will convene in Hood River on Wednesday to formulate plans that increase the production of “green power.”

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has mandated that the group find a way to ensure that 25 percent of all energy used in the state is derived from a renewable source by 2025.

“We have a great opportunity to protect consumers from rising costs by decreasing our dependence upon fossil fuels.” said Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, who sits on the working group.

The OREWG will consider whether the Renewable Portfolio Standards adopted in other states can also be used in this state. The advisory body will discuss issues related to these standards from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Waucoma Room at the Embarq Waucoma Center.

According to Smith, the challenge facing the group is finding ways to meet the governor’s goal without raising prices for consumers or creating an economic hardship for employers.

“What we’re trying to do as a working group is come up with a combination of tax incentives and regulations that are cost-effective,” said Smith.

She said 44 percent of Oregon’s electric use already comes from hydropower. So, enough wind, bio-fuels and solar sources have to be found to diversify energy needs as the population grows.

In an effort to learn more about state polices to develop and deploy bioenergy, Smith attended a national conference in June. She joined government leaders in Portsmouth, N.H., to discuss environmental impacts and examine economic factors related to the production of renewable energy.

“Oregon is already developing biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The question is, ‘Do we have enough natural resources and production capacity to build a feasible and sustainable supply in-state or will we have to ship in large quantities from the Midwest?’” asked Smith.

On Friday, Smith led members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that she chairs on a field trip to Bonneville Dam. The Bonneville Power Administration also arranged for the legislators to tour Dittmer Control Center in Vancouver, the main hub of all transmission lines.

Smith’s committee has also visited the Coffin Butte Methane Gas Project near Corvallis and the Ocean Wave Energy program at Oregon State University.

“Oregon is a cornucopia of potential for alternative energy and I’m excited to get to work with my so many experts to find and implement solutions that lower our reliance on hydro and petroleum,” Smith said.

She said the job growth from expanding the renewable energy base and the use of cleaner fuels can be nothing but a “win-win” for Oregonians.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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