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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Guidelines seek reduction in bird deaths caused by powerlines

WILDLIFE — Countless birds, large and small, are killed in collisions with powerlines that crisscross the country.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee on guidelines utilities, compiled in an updated booklet called, Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines: State of the Art in 2012

This manual, originally published in 1994, identifies best practices and provides specific guidance to help electric utilities and cooperatives, federal power administrations, wildlife agencies and other stakeholders reduce bird collisions with power lines.

Infographic: “How archaic utility rules stall local solar”

John Farrell is a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance specializing in energy policy developments that expand the benefits of local ownership. His report Energy Self-Reliant States found that at least "three-fifths of the fifty states could meet all their internal electricity needs from renewable energy generated inside their borders."

Check his new infographic on challenges for a renewable energy future that stem from utility rules. From Farrell: "Many people expect that solar power will dramatically expand once it bursts through the cost barrier and becomes less expensive than grid electricity. But archaic utility rules can effectively cap local solar development at just 15% of peak demand. Fortunately, pioneering states like Hawaii and California are exploring ways to lift the cap and bring utility rules into the 21st century."

Avista reports slightly lower earnings

Avista Corp. reported slightly lower third quarter earnings of $10.7 million, or 18 cents per share, this morning, compared to $12.3 million, or 22 cents per share, for the third quarter of 2010.

Through the first nine months of the year, Avista’s income was $75.6 million, or $1.30 per share, compared to $66.7 million, or $1.20 per share for the same period in 2010.

Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the third quarter earnings were in line with company expectations.

This year’s weather has been cooler than average, with rain, snow and streamflows well above average, he said. As a result, the Spokane-based utility experienced one of the best hydroelectric years on record. Morris said Avista’s customers have benefited from low wholesale prices for electricity, which have been passed onto customers through cost deferrals.