Best of the West: Oregon’s renewable energy facility; Alaska considers increased oyster farming; Colorado reduces food waste

Energy, The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting Feb. 18, 2019 that you don't want to miss.

The new Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility in Oregon will be a first of its kind, with wind power, solar power and battery storage within one facility.

The $160 million Portland General Electric (PGE) project will be constructed in phases and will be the largest solar farm and battery storage facility in the state, and one of the largest in the country according to Electrek. Once complete, it will be capable of powering 100,000 homes.

 “With the Wheatridge project, we’re accelerating Oregon’s transition to clean energy and showing the nation what the future of renewable energy looks like,” said PGE President and CEO Maria Pope. “We’re moving aggressively to integrate smart grid technologies and renewable energy to give customers affordable, clean, low-carbon energy. Wheatridge will be a model for integrating renewable generation and storage to cost-effectively reduce emissions while maintaining a reliable grid.”

Oyster Uptick? A proposed oyster farm in Alaska could support a $100 million industry, according to the state’s Mariculture Task Force. The 182-acre farm would help meet the “significant demand for Alaska oysters,” according to former state fisheries biologist Tommy Sheridan, who now works for Silver Bay Seafoods, but previous contamination incidents have residents and agencies proceeding with caution.

Fish Numbers in Trouble: Declining fish populations have citizens and scientists worried across the West. In Colorado, the greenback cutthroat thought to be making a comeback is still at risk, partially due to a repopulation mix-up.  And in Idaho, biologists are projecting very low salmon and steelhead runs for the third year in a row.

Farm to Table: To save produce that would otherwise rot in the fields and contribute methane emissions, a Colorado startup is working with farmers to get more food on the table. UpRoot Colorado is helping to harvest food and fill the labor gap when farmers are faced with surplus challenges. 

Tune In: A new Smithsonian series featuring Yellowstone National Park will debut in March. Filmed over the course of three years using state of the art technology, the four-part project will feature dramatic scenes of the park’s famous wildlife and waterways.

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