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Different means to same end show change is coming

Grant PUD’s decision to pursue a partnership in a next-generation nuclear power plant stems from the same circumstance that incented Columbia Basin Hydropower’s interest in its Banks Lake Hydropower project. The factors driving this grip all of us; change is inevitable.

Both the PUD and Columbia Basin Hydro figure more power will be needed in the coming years, and that much of it will come from renewable energy developments that need a more stable, fairly permanent source of power to steady their less-than-stable energy flow.

Both of those projects are pinning their futures on the same coming energy needs and sources: the need for clean energy that doesn’t burn fossil fuels and pump carbon into the atmosphere means most of new power will come from solar and wind. And nuclear, if the PUD and its new partners are successful in developing the first advanced nuclear reactor in the world near Richland.

Every car manufacturer in the world is either planning for or already offers vehicles that will run on nothing but battery. In Japan, the entire nation is committed to a new energy path that will rely on hydrogen fuel cells that produce electricity by passing hydrogen through a membrane that results in a current flowing. Producing hydrogen is energy intensive and needs renewable energy to make it work. And the Japanese figure they don’t have the renewable energy production capacity in their island nation to make it, so they plan on importing it.

Douglas County PUD is dipping its toe into production of hydrogen, building its first small plant for that purpose now.

In Spokane Valley, Amazon seems about to build a huge new distribution center, the plans for which include storage for hydrogen, an ideal power source for forklifts and other machines that must run inside buildings with human being who need to breath clean air.

Investors in the world’s financial markets have seen the light and are beginning to turn to away from petroleum investments.

Grand Coulee Dam may be 80 years running, but its capacity is greater than any power plant in the Northern Hemisphere. If it’s currently seen as a “peaking facility,” for quickly ramping up power as needed in times of peak demand, energy planners may be rethinking that assignment for a time when its great capacity could meet demand more consistently as other utilities ramp up new kinds of energy production and storage.

Change is coming.

Scott Hunter

Editor and publisher


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