Residents in Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties want low cost, reliable electricity that has minimal impact on the environment. 

Those preferences come from a survey taken by scores of people who attended a Clean Energy Expo hosted by the PUDs of the three counties. 

Chelan PUD Managing Director of Generation and Transmission Brett Bickford gave a presentation on the Expo to PUD commissioners at their most recent meeting. 

He said the survey asked attendees about new energy technology. 

"They were interested in more discussion on energy conservation and efficiency, the technological viability and cost to build these different types of energy sources, how practical and feasible are they in North Central Washington," said Bickford. "There were some questions about nuclear energy, particularly handling and disposal." 

The Clean Energy Expo included numerous technology firms on hand which shared information about a range of energy sources. Visitors could see and learn more about 10 technologies that could be utilized or are already present in the region; 

  • Solar 
  • Hydrogen 
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell 
  • Gravity Storage 
  • Wind 
  • Battery Storage 
  • Compressed Gas 
  • Fission 
  • Fusion 
  • Pumped Storage 

According to Bickford, about a dozen of the world's leading technology companies were at the Expo. 

He said people in attendance wanted to find out more about new technology. 

“There was lots of interest in public demonstrations and more engagement,” Bickford said. “So, could they go look at some of the installations around the state. Or could we bring them pictures and other things about how they’re working and how they’re interfacing with the communities that they’re involved in.” 

About 250 people attended the Expo either in person or virtually. 

The expo featured breakout sessions conducted by the technology firms, which each featured 49-50 people in attendance.  

About 80 surveys were completed with 41 percent expressing an interest in more information about the technologies. 

There were 253 responses to the question, "What are the top 3 things you, as a customer, want in an energy source?" 

The responses in percentage were: 

  • Low-Cost Electricity 25% 
  • Reliable Service 24% 
  • Minimal Environmental Impacts 21% 
  • Surplus energy sales to reinvest in the community 15% 
  • Job creation and economic development 11% 
  • Aesthetically pleasing project site 4% 

Attendees at the Expo were also asked to rate the energy sources they found most attractive for North Central Washington. 

Hydrogen came in first at 66%, followed by Gravity Storage 64%, Battery Storage 61%, Solar 59%, Pumped Storage 55%, Hydrogen Fuel Cell 54%, Fusion 51%, Wind 50%, and Geothermal and Fission 49% each. Wind energy drew the biggest negative response at 20%.  

The three PUDs staged the Clean Energy Expo in part, because of the Clean Energy Transformation Act of 2019.  

It resulted in some of the most aggressive clean energy goals in the nation for Washington State.  

By 2025, coal will no longer be used to serve Washington customers and by 2030 the state's electricity supply will be greenhouse gas neutral.  

Between 25% to 1/3 of the state's electrical supply will have to be replaced with renewable resources. 

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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

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