Renewable Energy

Snake River Sockeye

Anti-Hydro Narrative Misses the Big Picture of Climate Change, Equity and Salmon

I recently participated in a panel for the CleanTech Alliance on the future of the lower Snake River dams. The panelists had diverse viewpoints, which is a good thing. However, one statement by a co-panelist who advocates for breaching the Snake dams struck me as particularly important. She said, “It’s not like we’re talking about…

an image of the sun shining a bright yellow and orange light on the clouds, solar energy

Solar Equipment 101

If a person had a Rip Van Winkle moment and fell asleep under a tree a decade ago, they would be amazed at how far solar photovoltaic systems have come. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Once the most expensive form of electricity generation, economies of scale in manufacturing and advances in technology…

Electric vehicle Level 2 charging stations can be installed inside or outside a home. This one is installed outside. Register your electric vehicle with Benton REA before you install a Level 2 charger and receive $100

Register Your EV, Get $100

Benton REA members can receive up to $100 from Benton REA toward the purchase of an electric vehicle when they register them with the co-op. Members will receive $100 for electric vehicles purchased before a Level 2 charger has been installed in their homes or businesses where the vehicles will be charged. Members can receive…

Chevy Bolt electric vehicle charger is plugged in and charging the battery

How Long Will an EV Battery Last?

How long will an electric vehicle battery last, and what is the price to replace it? The response is often “it depends.” Many electric vehicle models come with an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty, but some do not. While there is little agreement in the EV industry as to how long a vehicle battery will last, there…

an array of solar panels

Questions to Ask Your Solar Contractor

As with any major home improvement project, buying from the right contractor is every bit as important as the product you are buying. Due diligence is critical to ensure you get the best system for a fair price, and that it is installed correctly and on time. This lengthy list of questions may help you…

2019 Benton REA Fuel Mix Pie Chart: 72.99% Hydropower, 16.96% Unspecified, 10.05% Nuclear

2019 Benton REA Fuel Mix Report

How Benton REA members’ electricity is generated, as reported in the Washington State Department of Commerce 2019 Electric Utility Fuel Mix Disclosure Report 72.99% Hydropower 16.96% Unspecified 10.05% Nuclear About the Washington State Electric Utilities Fuel Mix The objective of the fuel mix disclosure is to inform customers and policymakers about the characteristics of the…

The image has three photos, on the left is dry, cracked earth, the middle is irrigated green crops, on the right is an image of the ocean. The text says "Carbon free hydropower is critical in our fight against climate change."

Idaho Congressman Seeks Support for Plan to Breach the Snake River Hydropower Dams

U.S. Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho wants to get the Columbia and Snake River dams out of seemingly endless court battles. Simpson has a plan to breach the lower Snake River dams while compensating electricity, river transportation and irrigation stakeholders through a infrastructure funding bill that could hit President Joe Biden’s desk this year. This…

Touchstone_Energy_Roofs_000

10 Steps to Take Before Installing Solar

As prices decline and technology improves, installing a residential solar system—also called a photo-voltaic system—makes sense for some. However, it’s important to know the facts before committing to a purchase. Consider these points as you explore whether solar is right for you. 1. MAKE YOUR HOME MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT BEFORE BUYING A SOLAR SYSTEM Adding…

On August 31, 2020, an Ellensburg Solar technician installed solar panels on the roof of a YCH building in Sunnyside. PHOTO COURTESY OF YCH

YCH Installs Largest Solar Array in State

In August, Yakima Chief Hops, a 100% farmer-owned hop supplier for the brewing industry and a Benton REA member, announced its latest solar panel installation. YCH now has 3,706 solar panels, the largest rooftop solar array in Washington state. YCH has offices located across the globe, but the company’s headquarters are based in Yakima, which…

an illustration of three electrical transmission towers

Transmission: From Dam to Doorstep

Once the force of a flowing river is turned into electricity at hydroelectric dams, it still has a long way to go before reaching your house, business or school. This energy now must flow along transmission lines, sometimes hundreds of miles from its source. When electricity first leaves a dam, it is high voltage, meaning…