Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

SeQuential Biodiesel Expanding Production at Salem Plant November 21, 2008

Filed under: Biofuels,Oregon — nwrenewablenews @ 10:20 pm
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Oregon could see another boom in biodiesel. One plant in Salem is expanding production in a big way. General manager, Tyson Keever, showed off the new expansion at SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel in Salem. The expansion meant this Salem plant, which got much it’s cooking oil from fast food joints, could now process five times more biodiesel, 5 million gallons a year — a significant number for Oregon.


Possible Grant for Sustainable Wood Products in Baker Co. (OR)

A $2 million grant is breathing life into planning for a new sustainable wood products industry in Baker County capable of providing income for woodland owners and low-cost power, heat, wood pellets and firewood to the community.

All combined, the analysis of available information suggests a range of 59,000 to 70,000 green tons of woody biomass supply each year. This does not include the 20,000 green tons of residential slash volume from completed harvest operations that (the Oregon Department of Forestry) estimates is currently piled on private forests,” according to the report.

Biomass from federal forests could add another 60,000 green tons to the supply, and possibly much more if forest officials authorize more thinning.

Christoffersen described a system where woodland owners would thin their timber stands and the larger logs not sold to mills would be cut and dried for firewood. Smaller trees and other woody biomass, including slash piles from logging, would supply the gasifier power plant and the pellet mill. Heat created as a byproduct from the gasifier plant could be used to dry the pellets.


A Certain Titan Retail Chain is Appartently Going Green

Filed under: Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 9:25 pm
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Doing what is right for the planet?

A decision of economics?

You decide. Love ’em or Hate ’em, they’re saying they’ll use 15% wind to power their 360 Texas stores sometime after 2009.


Powell’s Books in Portland installs 100KW of Solar

Filed under: Oregon,Solar — nwrenewablenews @ 9:13 pm
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Oregon’s second largest retailer (in volume) is going solar. The set-up will supply around a quarter of the power for their main retail store, and it looks like they have future plans for a green roof as well.

Powell’s Books is a great store for all things Northwest, and it gets the very rare business recommendation here at NW Renewable News. They are great folks. Make sure to check them out. Their on-line store is outstanding, and has a great selected of local NW and sustainable books:



Editorial: Tidal energy begs for a pilot project

After eight years of little progress in exploring energy alternatives to fossil fuels, the U.S. may soon begin full-scale research and development of things like tidal and wave-powered electric turbines. Coastal leaders and citizens must have prominent places at the table when these decisions are made.

So what sort of changes might this bring to our shores? An absence of ready answers is at the heart of the problem. So far, making electricity from waves and tides lacks solid information about exactly how such turbines will survive rough maritime conditions and how they will interact with fish, birds and marine mammals.

To begin filling this knowledge vacuum, private and academic researchers are starting to look intently at waters all around us. Reedsport looks likely to host the nation’s first commercial wave-energy park within the next two years. Another small experimental facility is currently under development off the northwest Washington coast. Nationwide, 200 tidal and wave projects already have been or are awaiting preliminary permitting, including many on the West Coast.

Here is the whole editorial:


New Machine Draws Energy from ‘Slow Water Currents’

Slow-moving ocean and river currents could be a new, reliable and affordable alternative energy source. A University of Michigan engineer has made a machine that works like a fish to turn potentially destructive vibrations in fluid flows into clean, renewable power.

The machine is called VIVACE. A paper on it is published in the current issue of the quarterly Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering.

VIVACE is the first known device that could harness energy from most of the water currents around the globe because it works in flows moving slower than 2 knots (about 2 miles per hour.) Most of the Earth’s currents are slower than 3 knots. Turbines and water mills need an average of 5 or 6 knots to operate efficiently.

VIVACE stands for Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy. It doesn’t depend on waves, tides, turbines or dams. It’s a unique hydrokinetic energy system that relies on “vortex induced vibrations.”

Vortex induced vibrations are undulations that a rounded or cylinder-shaped object makes in a flow of fluid, which can be air or water. The presence of the object puts kinks in the current’s speed as it skims by. This causes eddies, or vortices, to form in a pattern on opposite sides of the object. The vortices push and pull the object up and down or left and right, perpendicular to the current.

These vibrations in wind toppled the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington in 1940 and the Ferrybridge power station cooling towers in England in 1965. In water, the vibrations regularly damage docks, oil rigs and coastal buildings.

Engineering, Nicole Casal-Moore


Umilitila Co. Commission to Decide on Wind Permit

Filed under: Oregon,Renewable Energy Projects,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 2:40 pm

Tonight, the Umatilla County Planning Commission will make a decision on, amongst other things, whether to allow a local wind farm to amend its plans for a second phase of turbine building.

Eurus Combine Hills Phase II, LLC, is asking the commission to allow for changes in its conditional use permit on the Combine Hills Turbine Ranch Phase II Wind Project, located on several ridge lines and hilltops about three miles southwest of Umapine, six miles west of Milton-Freewater and near Vansycle Ridge.

Eurus is asking to change their project boundary, relocate a small portion of transmission lines, change some turbine locations and the location of the collector line system, change the placement of some roads, add communication towers and select a point to interconnect with Bonniville Power Administration’s grid, the commission’s meeting agenda said.