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Grounded: A Podcast by the Oregon Department of Energy

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Episode 21: Portland Poop To Power

Everybody poops. On our latest episode of Grounded, we’re joined by Paul Suto, Engineering Manager with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. BES is working on its “Poop to Power” project, which will convert methane from wastewater treatment processes into useable, renewable energy. See photos and get helpful links at Music: “If” by Broke for Free.


Episode 20: One Plug Two Plug Red Plug Blue Plug

Today on Grounded, we’re talking to Matt Teske, founder and CEO of Chargeway, an Oregon-based company focused on making it easy to charge your electric vehicle. Chargeway’s innovative platform takes the guesswork out of how and where you charge your electric vehicle, using color-coded plug types and simple numbers for charging speed. Visit for helpful links. Download Chargeway’s free app at Music: “If” by Broke for Free....


Episode 19: Ashland Captures The Sun

On our latest episode of Grounded, we’re talking solar energy and virtual net metering in Ashland, Oregon. Stu Green, the City of Ashland’s Climate and Energy Analyst, talks about the city’s bold strategy for expanding access to renewable solar electricity to more Oregonians. Ashland is committed to fighting climate change, and was an early adopter of solar policies in the 1980s – they are walking the talk to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve community resilience. Visit...


Episode 18: Rogue Valley's Circle Of Waste Life

For our latest episode of Grounded, we are in Southern Oregon at Rogue Disposal and Recycling. This episode was a fun one to record on site at Rogue’s White City transfer station – so don’t be surprised if you hear a collection truck or two traveling by! It might seem unusual to be talking garbage and landfills on an energy podcast, so get ready to geek out about some of the amazing things this company is working on to improve its services, harness energy, and protect its environment. Visit...


Episode 17: Gresham Powers Through The FOG

On our latest episode of Grounded, Alan Johnston, Senior Engineer for the City of Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant, is with us to talk about the plant’s operations (everybody poops!), and how they’ve implemented energy projects onsite that end up producing more electricity than the plant can even use. Gresham has also become the first certified facility for Renewable Energy Certificates for thermal energy. ODOE REC expert Rebecca Smith joins the episode later to talk about what that means....


Episode 16: A Community Energy Plan For Cully

We’re in Northeast Portland this week, talking to Carolina Iraheta Gonzalez, Verde’s Community Energy Advocate. Verde is part of the Living Cully collaborative, an effort to boost sustainability as an anti-poverty strategy in the Cully neighborhood. Living Cully released its Community Energy Plan earlier this year – Carolina tells us about in this week’s episode. Visit for helpful links. Learn more about our work at Music: “If” by Broke...


Episode 15: Clean Fuels Clean Cities

We are in Lebanon, Oregon this week, interviewing Brian Trice, Executive Director for the Columbia Willamette Clean Cities Coalition, a nonprofit focused on boosting alternative fuels in our state. Brian dives in to the Coalition’s work in Oregon, how the Advanced Transportation Technology Center at Linn-Benton Community College plays a role in alternative fuels, and his upcoming Green Transportation Summit & Expo. Not to mention: an epic race battle between Ford F-150 and a Nissan Leaf....


Episode 14: NuScale's New Scale For Nuclear

Grounded is back with a new season – and we are jumping right in with the fascinating, innovative work NuScale Power is doing in Corvallis, Oregon. NuScale was borne from research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through Idaho National Environment & Engineering Laboratory, with support from Oregon State University. Today, the company is nearing certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its small modular nuclear reactor technology. Dr. Jose Reyes, NuScale co-founder and...


Episode 13: Birth of an Oregon Energy Facility

When you flip on your light switch at home, do you ever think about where that electricity came from? Energy facilities like wind farms and power plants are spread out among our communities, producing energy to keep our state running. The birth of an energy facility – and its lifespan – is dependent on a governor-appointed body by called the Energy Facility Siting Council. Their complex work is supported by staff at the Oregon Department of Energy. On this latest episode, ODOE Siting...


Episode 12: Coyote Trails: Powered By The Sun

For 18 years, Coyote Trails has been helping Oregon families – and beyond – reconnect with nature. In 2015, Coyote Trails became powered by the sun, thanks to a large solar pavilion installation at the School of Nature in Medford, Oregon. On this episode of Grounded, Coyote Trails Nature Center Director Molly Kreuzman and True South Solar Owner/Sales Manager Shawn Schreiner tell us about Coyote Trails’ solar pavilion, and how it has helped the nonprofit achieve “net zero” electricity while...


Episode 11: Fueling Oregon in a Post-Cascadia World

The Cascadia Subduction Zone runs 700 miles along the Pacific Northwest coast – from northern California up to Vancouver Island. The Juan de Fuca plate is shoved up against the North American tectonic plate – eventually, the plates will give way, and North America will spring back with an earthquake anywhere from an 8.0 on the Richter Scale to higher than a 9… it’s known as a megathrust earthquake. On this week’s podcast, Oregon Department of Energy Emergency Preparedness Manager Deanna...


Episode 10: Hanford's Dream Of 2036

On this week’s podcast, we continue our multi-part series on the Hanford Nuclear Site near Richland, Washington. Oregon Department of Energy Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety, Ken Niles, is back to talk to us about Hanford’s biggest cleanup challenge: millions of gallons of radioactive and chemically hazardous waste stored in underground tanks at Hanford. Tune in to hear Ken talk tank waste, vitrification (mixing waste with glass-making materials), and the new dream of Hanford: to start...


Episode 9: The Great Solar Panel Eclipse

On August 21, a total solar eclipse will begin its journey across the United States right here in Oregon. From Depoe Bay to Ontario, sun watchers will witness up to two minutes of totality – where the moon will completely cover the sun. On this week’s Grounded podcast, Oregon Department of Energy Analyst Rob DelMar talks about how the eclipse will affect solar in Oregon and beyond. Oregon Department of Energy staff will be on hand in the state’s Emergency Coordination Center on August 21,...


Episode 8: Hanford's Dream Of The 90s

On this week’s podcast, we continue our multi-part series on the Hanford Nuclear Site near Richland, Washington. Oregon Department of Energy Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety, Ken Niles, is back to talk to us about the early years of the Hanford cleanup. When Hanford shifted to cleanup in the early 1990s, the dream was to complete the project in just 30 years. Ken shares why that dream won’t become a reality – for decades to come. Learn more and see photos: Learn...


Episode 7: Charge Up & Go Forth

Rock down to Electric Avenue. On this week’s podcast, we talk to Forth Executive Director Jeff Allen. Forth, formerly known as Drive Oregon, is helping Oregonians find alternative, low- or zero-emission transportation options. In May, Forth opened its Electric Showcase – the first of its kind in the nation. At the Showcase, people can learn more about electric vehicles, charging options, and even take a no-pressure, brand-neutral electric car test drive! Learn more and see photos:...


Episode 6: Rip City, Green City

This week, Grounded is with the Portland Trail Blazers, talking about the organization’s ongoing commitment to saving energy and going green. Trail Blazers Vice President of Social Responsibility Christa Stout and Assistant General Manager of Facility Operations Scott Sisson talk to us about their 2025 goals, how they’ve reduced energy in half over the last decade, and how they’re teaming up with Trail Blazer players, fans, and partners to focus on sustainability and combating climate...


Episode 5: Tree-Powered Planes

Just southeast of Jefferson, Oregon, 85 acres of hybrid poplar trees have a special mission: demonstrate how poplars can be quickly and economically grown, harvested, and converted into renewable biofuels. In this week’s podcast, Greenwood Resources’ Chief Science Officer, Brian Stanton, talks to us about the Advanced Hardwood Biofuels, a consortium working to demonstrate how trees can power airplanes! Learn more and see photos: Learn more about us:...


BONUS: Nuclear Shenanigans

Radioactive jam, anyone? Check out this bonus material from Episode 4: Hanford's Burping Tank. Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety Ken Niles talks about some shenanigans at Hanford and the larger Manhattan Project. Be sure to listen to our previous podcast episodes about Hanford production and the transition to cleanup. See photos: Learn more about us: Music: "If" by Broke For Free,


BONUS: This Is Not A Drill

After recording "Hanford's Burping Tank," an episode about the extent of the waste cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Site, the area experienced a real emergency when part of a tunnel storing contaminated waste partially collapsed. Oregon activated its Agency Operations Center, and went to work. Our Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety, Ken Niles, shares some info about the incident and Oregon's response. Learn more about us: Music: "If" by Broke For Free,...


Episode 4: Hanford's Burping Tank

If you haven't already, please listen to our first Hanford episode, "The Atomic Man." This week, Ken Niles, the Oregon Department of Energy's Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety, continues his Hanford history lesson, moving from the production days of Hanford over to the transition to cleanup. Ken describes the overwhelming problem at Hanford, and the many challenges we face. This multi-part series will continue with a third episode focused on the progress we've made so far. Learn more...