League sets stage for change in renewable energy policies

With the increasing interest in and apparent need for renewable energy, the League of Women Voters of Washington decided its 36-year-old energy position is well overdue for an update.


To help renovate the league’s 1977 energy position, The League of Women Voters of Clallam County prepares to host a renewable energy panel and Q&A session, followed by a league consensus, at 10 a.m. Monday, April 22, at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.


Room is available to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.


Consensus for advocacy

A consensus made by league members at the county level contributes toward a more modernized energy position for the League of Women Voters of Washington’s state organization, league member Judith Parker said.


The state energy committee then looks at all the different decisions from the various leagues and updates the Washington State league’s renewable energy position based upon the decisions made at the county level.


“We’re inviting the public to attend the panel discussion,” Parker added, “but it’s really for the members to get their wheels turning.”


Updating the league’s position on renewable energy empowers league members to act as individuals, but also as a coordinated unit. An updated position helps league members promote and advocate those policies with government entities with the political backing of the league’s state group.


Menu of options

“We need to keep all the different renewable energy options on the table and how they fit in with what we already have,” Jeff Ward, marine ecologist for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said.


“Forums are a great way to bring knowledgeable people together with people who want to learn more and I’m glad to be a part of it,” he said.


Renewable energy sources in consideration include wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydropower, green power programs, the grid (the nation’s electric power infrastructure) and Smart Grid (a modernization of that infrastructure).


The panel includes speakers in varied fields:


• Ward, a senior program manager for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, addressing wave and tidal energy


• Lee Hall, from Bonneville Power Administration, on hydropower and Smart Grid system


• Phil Lusk, Port Angeles power resources manager, to explain the inner-workings of local energy


• Bob Lynette, LWV Clallam County member and longtime consultant within the wind energy industry


• Andy Cochrane, founder of Power Trip Energy Corp., to address solar energy


• Stan Gent, president of Seattle Steam, to address energy generation from biomass.


Sense over dollars

Cochrane said the public forum will be focusing more on technical aspects of renewable energy rather than marketing of energy products.


He noted that renewable energy is growing in interest statewide, and that both Clallam and Jefferson are leading counties in the state in terms of per-capita solar installation.


“Energy touches everything we do and has a huge effect on the economy as well,” Cochrane said.


Lynette said he could not agree more about the value of a public discussion examining renewable energy, especially with looming environmental changes, such as climate change, on the horizon.


“Climate change dwarfs everything else and it is time citizens become more aware of what the alternatives are,” Lynette said.


“Deeming which renewable energy sources are priorities for Washington will help steer league policy and provide direction during advocacy,” he said.


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