DAYTON -- This holiday season is a little greener in Dayton.
The small town along Highway 12 lit up its historic downtown Thursday with the help of renewable energy.
Pacific Power will offset the electricity used to power the town's Christmas lights with green energy from its Blue Sky program.
It should take about 12 megawatts of energy to turn Flour Mill Park and Main Street into a winter wonderland.
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Using that amount of green power is the same as planting 172 trees or not making 230 round-trip drives from there to Walla Walla, or 14,865 miles, according to Pacific Power.
The power could be offset by energy generated by the wind farms near the town.
The light poles that line Main Street are wrapped with lights, and the celebration includes a Christmas market at the state's oldest train depot in downtown Dayton.
"Dayton has such a wonderful small-town feel," said Lisa Ronnberg, executive director of the town's chamber.
Pacific Power also gains from the donation, said spokesman Tom Gauntt, because otherwise the energy the town's lights would use can be used elsewhere.
"It is bringing more power into the grid," he said.
Ronnberg said this is the second year Pacific Power has offered to light the town's holiday season.
"Pacific Power determined what our usage is, and then they go and buy this for us," she said.
Wind power plays a vital role in Columbia County's economy, Ronnberg said, bringing $1 million a year into the area.
"We love wind here," she added.
* Cathy Kessinger: 509-582-1535; firstname.lastname@example.org