Fair goes clean -- and green

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The Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days are clean and green -- despite whatever business the livestock may conduct -- thanks to Pacific Power's Blue Sky renewable energy program.

Blue Sky is an optional way for customers to help with renewable energy. When customers enroll, Pacific Power buys renewable energy credits from western region renewable energy facilities.

The purchase guarantees electricity from the renewable sources is delivered into the regional power pool that drives more renewable energy development, according to an announcement from the utility.

Blue Sky allows customers to offset emissions from their energy usage by supporting renewable resources for as little as $1.95 a month. The funds also help support development of smaller projects that can include wind, solar, geothermal, low-emission biomass or other certified renewable energy sources.

Customers can increase their participation or withdraw at any time. Nearly 800 Walla Walla-area customers are enrolled in Blue Sky, according to the announcement.

As far as involvement at the 144th Fair & Frontier Days, the equivalent of 75,000 kilowatt hours -- or enough electricity to power about 55 typical Washington homes for a month -- are provided through Blue Sky.

"Sustainability, whether it concerns harvests or daily energy use, is a key theme for any agricultural fair, said Fair Manager Cory Hewitt, in a prepared statement. "The more we can promote the use and development of renewable energy, the better it will be for the environment and the local economy."

The renewable energy purchased for the fair provides one-time environmental benefits equivalent to offsetting carbon dioxide emissions by 91,375 pounds - which has the same benefit as not driving 92,906 miles.

"Besides benefiting the environment, renewable power, such as wind, is a growing part of the energy industry that benefits our local economy," said Bill Clemens, regional community manager for Pacific Power and 2010 Fair Board chairman, in the release.

•••

Barbecue may be coming to Wilbur Avenue, but first a little taste of crow.

An item in last Friday's Strictly Business column incorrectly identified the owner of Blackbirds grind amp; grill. Jennifer Oney and her husband, Jason Oney, are owners of the Eastgate coffee shop, slated to add barbecue to its menu Sept. 8. With the help of Jason's brother, Blake Oney, the new menu will include lunch and dinner offerings at 515 N. Wilbur Ave.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

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