Renewable Energy

Dams provide irrigation water and electricity to run irrigation pumps north of West Richland, Washington. Photo of irrigated corn and alfalfa fields near a Benton REA distribution power line north of West Richland.

Dams: One Structure, Many Benefits

At first glance, dams look like they hold back and store water, but they actually do so much more. Dams protect communities from floods, provide water to irrigate farmland, enable safe passage for boats and barges, create places to play on the river and provide the Northwest with renewable, carbon-free electricity. While not all dams…

Illustration by Atilla N. Wind, solar and hydropower landscape with a river and mountains

Your Feedback Needed on Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation

The Clean Energy Transformation Act, passed in 2019 by the Washington Legislature, requires Benton REA to file a Clean Energy Implementation Plan. Benton REA is seeking member input on this plan. Clean energy is electricity that does not produce carbon or other greenhouse gases as it is generated. Examples include hydro, solar, wind, geothermal and…

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…

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…

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…

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…

A man and woman hike along the Columbia Gorge in Washington

Clean Energy: The Northwest Way of Life

Life in the Northwest is shaped by the Columbia River and all it has to offer. From clean energy to clean air, this iconic waterway is forever giving. It Fuels the Cleanest Power System in the Nation Dams in the Columbia River Basin produce more electricity than any other North American river. They provide nearly…