Friday, August 16, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project moves forward (Bonneville Power Administration)
38-mile line in southeast Washington will move wind and hydropower west
(PORTLAND, OR) -- The Bonneville Power Administration is moving forward with construction of the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project in Washington. The 38-mile, 500-kilovolt line will connect the new Central Ferry Substation in Garfield County to the existing Lower Monumental Substation in Walla Walla County. Construction is set to begin in spring of 2014. Energization is expected in December 2015.
The project was put on hold in August 2011 because of uncertainty regarding the readiness of customer utilities. BPA customers requested and were given the opportunity to reconsider transmission service commitments that would have required BPA to build the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental line. Now, a recent agreement between Puget Sound Energy and Portland General Electric gives BPA the confidence to move forward. As part of the deal, PSE will transfer 267 megawatts of energy from phase two of the Lower Snake River Wind facility, which PGE has renamed the Tucannon River Wind Farm, and transmission service rights to PGE.
“Our Network Open Season process was designed to help BPA build the right facilities in the right place at the right time backed by strong commercial agreements,” said BPA Acting Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “With this project, we are able to help PGE meet its renewable resource needs at minimal cost to existing network customers.”
BPA completed an environmental review and a preliminary engineering design in early 2011. The agency issued a record of decision to build the line in March 2011.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
(SALEM, OR) -- The Salem Electric Board of Directors (Ore.) announced that effective May 1, 2014, Terry M. Kelly will become Salem Electric’s new general manager, replacing Robert J. Speckman who will retire on April 30, 2014.
Kelly, who began work as a contract employee for Salem Electric, was hired in 1983 as an energy analyst, was named senior energy analyst in 1984, and promoted to Member Services manager in 1997. In January 2011, he was named assistant general manager.
Throughout his career Kelly has served on numerous boards and committees and currently serves as president of the West Salem Business Association in addition to his ongoing work with the Travel Salem Board, Polk County Sanctions Court, and various City of Salem and Salem-Keizer School District committees. In 1998, Kelly received the City of Salem Distinguished Service Award and in 2004 the City of Salem Vern Miller Key Citizen Award.
Kelly has also participated in several industry-related organizations, including NWPPA, where he was awarded the 2007 Lacy People’s Award for a lifetime commitment to the public power industry, and the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association, where he was awarded the Rural Electrification Award for outstanding achievement communicating the benefits of electric cooperative membership in 2009.
Speckman was a lobbyist for ORECA from 1978 until when he was hired as the Customer & Community relations manager for Salem Electric in 1982. In 1988, he was appointed assistant general manager, and in 1997 he became general manager. Speckman has also served on many community boards of directors and is currently president-elect of the Salem Art Association Board of Directors. He has also served on industry-related boards and committees and is a past-president of NWPPA.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Fire Weather Watch - For the Black Hills & Southwest Interior Lowlands (Which includes south Mason County)
Event: Fire Weather Watch
For the Black Hills and Southwest Interior Lowlands (Which includes south Mason County)
Scattered lightning expected for parts of western Washington from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening
An upper low off the northern California coast this afternoon will slowly lift north just off the Pacific Northwest coast, reaching the Washington coastal waters by Sunday evening. The low center will support thunderstorm development over the cascades each afternoon and evening from Friday through Sunday. On Friday night particularly, easterly steering flow may cause thunderstorms over the cascades to spread west into the southwest Washington interior during the late evening and overnight hours.
- Fire weather watch in effect from Friday evening through Saturday morning for scattered lightning for fire weather zone 655
- The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a fire weather watch, which is in effect from Friday evening through Saturday morning.
- Affected area: fire weather zone 655. This includes the southwest interior lowlands.
- Thunderstorms: scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop over the Cascades on Friday afternoon and evening, possibly spreading west into the southwest interior lowlands on Friday night and early Saturday morning.
- Wind: thunderstorms often produce gusty and erratic winds. The strongest wind gusts are frequently at the leading edge of a thunderstorm.
- Impacts: scattered lightning in dry fuels can cause multiple fire starts. Thunderstorms can also bring erratic and gusty winds to existing fires.
- Instructions: a fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible red flag warnings.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Port Angeles Fiber-Optic Internet Firm Considering Sale - Had recently completed Port Angeles’ $2.7 million Metro-Net system (Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, WA)
Monday, August 5, 2013
Northwest Utilities Add Muscle to Fight for Customers in Columbia River Treaty Talks (Columbia River Treaty Group)
Utilities combine with law firm Van Ness Feldman and former U.S. Congressman Norm Dicks
(SEATTLE, WA) -- With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for 6.4 million Pacific Northwest electric utility customers, a coalition of 70 Northwest utilities, industry associations and other entities has hired Washington, D.C. and Seattle-based law firm Van Ness Feldman. The coalition known as the Columbia River Treaty Power Group plans to share its views with policy makers and regional stakeholders on economic, environmental and operational issues as the United States prepares to renegotiate the 1960s-era Columbia River Treaty.
One member of the Van Ness team is no stranger to Washington state residents - former Congressman Norm Dicks. The 18-term former congressman joined the Washington, D.C. and Seattle-based firm of Van Ness Feldman earlier this year.
The Treaty has no expiration date, but could be terminated as early as 2024 with a 10-year notice. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will make a recommendation to the U.S. Department of State on the Treaty’s future by the end of 2013.
“We understand the major impact that this Treaty has on the customers we serve,” said Bill Gaines, Director & CEO of Tacoma Public Utilities. “This partnership signifies our continued commitment to negotiate the best possible deal for power customers throughout the Northwest and to best protect the interests of the United States.”
The Power Group became concerned about the direction of potential Treaty negotiations when a draft recommendation was released by BPA and the Corps on June 27. The draft proposes to add ecosystem functions as a “third primary purpose” of the Treaty, which was ratified in 1964 to facilitate international development of the Columbia River for improved flood control and power generation. Unfortunately, the draft fails to recognize that U.S. hydropower operations have already been adapted to ecosystem concerns pursuant to numerous laws and regulations passed since the Treaty was enacted.
“As a former member of Congress and Northwest representative, I am keenly aware that this region has invested billions of dollars in the Columbia River Basin during the last five decades to protect fish and water resources,” said Dicks, Senior Policy Advisor for Van Ness Feldman. “We need to make sure that people across the country know we have programs in place - independent of the Treaty - that will protect these resources going forward.”
A priority of the Power Group is reaching an equitable allocation of Treaty benefits between the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. returns hydropower to Canada valued about $250 - $350 million annually under a provision of the Treaty called the Canadian Entitlement. If the Treaty continues beyond 2024, the region will be paying much more than the actual benefits of coordinated power operations with Canada, impacting Northwest jobs and the economy.
“BPA customers need an additional advocate to make sure our views are heard at the highest level in the region and in Washington, D.C.,” commented Will Hart of the Idaho Consumer-Owned Utilities Association. “Our organizations are intensifying our work on the Treaty to bring more balance to this process. This is an incredibly important economic issue for the region.”
Flood control is another critical issue. “People in this region also need to be aware that the flood control provisions of the Treaty change in 2024 regardless of whether the Treaty is terminated or continued,” said Scott Corwin of the Portland-based Public Power Council. “The implications for hydropower operations, irrigation, navigation, recreation, and property are an important aspect of this agreement that needs to be broadly understood.”
Another increasingly important consideration is the impact of potential operational changes on grid reliability. “Going forward, we need to ensure that future river operations preserve hydropower generation to support grid reliability, given the integration of a large amount of variable energy resources like wind and solar,” said Joe Lukas, Manager of Western Montana Electric Generating & Transmission Cooperative, Inc.
The coalition believes that the Van Ness Feldman group and former Congressman Dicks will help elevate the concerns of electric customers before a final recommendation is sent to the U.S. State Department later this year.
For more information about the Power Group, visit www.crtpowergroup.org