Milton-Freewater municipal utility vies for 'smart grid' grant

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Milton-Freewater's municipal electric utility could be a player in a project aimed at securing the nation's power system for the future.

Along with project leader Battelle, the Bonneville Power Administration, private businesses and 11 other utilities around the Northwest, Milton-Freewater City Light & Power is competing for a U.S. Department of Energy grant to carry out a U.S. Department of Energy-funded "smart grid" demonstration project.

So, what's a smart grid? As you might guess from the "demonstration" aspect of this project, a smart grid is what we don't yet have.

But the DOE lays out this outline of a smarter power grid: More reliable, still affordable, globally competitive, traditional and renewable in terms of sources, less polluting and more efficient. No big deal, right?

The Battelle-led proposal is a bid for $178 million to carry out an experiment involving more than 60,000 power customers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and with more than 112 megawatts of power capacity. The project involves installing new equipment and technology and sharing information with customers to find out more about their behavior, as well as if customers will modify their consumption based on the information.

The guidance document DOE has cooked up on smart grids implies the realization of a smarter grid is a decade away but if the regional group's bid is accepted later this year, the road to the future will at least start being surveyed and graded.



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Haun's Meat and Sausage LLC of Walla Walla won national recognition at the American Cured Meat Championships held in July in Omaha, Neb.

Owned and operated by Jerry and Dee Haun, Haun's Meat and Sausage was awarded third place, champion, in the Heavyweight Bone-In Ham class.

All entries were judged on the basis of aroma, flavor, eye appeal, color and texture. The competition annually draws hundreds of entries from throughout the U.S. -- 734 entries in 25 product categories this year.

Haun's Meat and Sausage is a member of the American Association of Meat Processors, a trade organization representing small businesses in the meat/food related industry, and Jerry Haun is a board member representing Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

The business, at 5042 Stateline Road, offers custom meat cutting, slaughter, complete game processing, smoking and curing. For more information, call 525-6605.

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A correction: When I wrote yesterday about the growth in retail sales in cities around the state, I sold us a little short. Walla Walla's retail sales grew at an annual rate of 3 percent over the past five years, not just the past year.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Alasdair Stewart can be reached at alasdairstewart@wwub.com or 526-8311.

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