Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
Olympic Mountain Snowpack 23 Percent of Normal - Too Soon to Worry about 2015 Water Supply, Officials Say (Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, WA)
Friday, December 19, 2014
Simpson Selling Sawmills to Canadian Forest Products Company – “…does not include…sawmill in Shelton…the Shelton sawmill didn’t fit in Interfor’s strategic plan to increase its U-S production….” (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA - Paywall Advisory)
(CHEHALIS, WA) -- The Lewis County PUD Commissioners approved a budget of $71.2 million for 2015. That’s an increase of 7.1 percent over 2014. PUD manager Bob Geddes says there are several factors affecting the increase including a raise in power and transmission costs from the Bonneville Power Administration. PUD receives a large portion of its electricity from BPA. Geddes says they have also opted to add an additional tree trimming crew to supplement the existing one tree trimming crew in an effort to stay ahead of outages caused by storms like the ones recently experienced in Lewis County.
(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Maria Cantwell has picked Angela Becker-Dippmann, a former ENR and Cantwell aide, as Democratic staff director for the next Congress. Becker-Dippmann is currently a senior policy advisor at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Energy and Environment Directorate, where she has been since 2011. Becker-Dippmann was an executive vice president at McBee Strategic Consulting from 2008 until joining PNNL, and before that spent eight years in the Senate, including stints as a staffer under former ENR Chairman Jeff Bingaman and as policy director to Cantwell, where she worked on the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Clallam Sheriff’s Office Looking for Suspect with Burns after Copper Theft – Caused Power Outage West of Port Angeles (Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, WA)
Friday, December 12, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014
Cap & Trade Could Be the Answer to State Budget Crises “…cutting emissions in one state will have no perceptible effect on…climate change. So, for policy options within your own state, it’s about the money…” (The Conversation)
The Kitsap Sun, Tad Sooter
December 6, 2014
SHELTON — Mason County is a good place to grow legal marijuana.
It’s a rural county with relatively quick access to highways and nearby cities. The scattered population makes it easier for growers to find locations outside the buffered areas established by the state around schools, libraries and other gathering places.
And, perhaps most important for a power-thirsty industry, electricity is cheap.
“That’s why we came to Mason County, the rate was so low,” said Craig Johnson, co-owner of Cascade Crops, who spends about $2,200 a month to run grow lights and other equipment in his Shelton marijuana production facility.
Those rates changed at the start of this month.
The Mason County Public Utility District 3 commission approved a new price schedule for its electricity customers in November that included a special classification for marijuana growers and processors. The rate falls between that of small businesses and large commercial users. It includes a demand charge that reflects the peak capacity needs of the facilities.
According to the district, the classification will protect marijuana businesses if federal regulations change, and ensure the companies’ power needs are met. But some growers, including Johnson, feel singled out.
“We took it as them pushing us against the wall as marijuana businesses,” Johnson said.
The uncertainty over federal policy regarding Washington’s fledgling marijuana industry was one driver behind the new rate classification. Recreational pot was legalized in the state under Initiative 502 but it remains federally illegal.
Utility districts across the state took notice last spring when the Bureau of Reclamation announced it didn’t want federally controlled irrigation water supplied to marijuana businesses. Like many districts, Mason County PUD 3 buys and distributes wholesale electricity from Bonneville Power Authority, a federal agency. To date, Bonneville hasn’t offered clear direction on whether districts should be reselling its wholesale electricity to marijuana companies.
PUD 3 Manager Annette Creekpaum said the district will supply Bonneville power to growers for now, but there is possibility that source could be eliminated in the future. By creating a special class for marijuana businesses, the district can shift them to other power sources if needed, without affecting other customers, she said.
Creekpaum said it seems unlikely Bonneville would prohibit the resale of electricity to pot growers, but “you just don’t know politically.”
There are other good reasons for giving marijuana growers there own customer class, according to district administrators. Isolating power loads from the growing facilities allows the district to study their energy use and ensure the infrastructure is in place to meet it. Indoor marijuana growing is a power-intensive operation, requiring large overhead lights, and powerful ventilation and filtration systems.
Power needs in Mason County could surge as growers come online. The Liquor Control Board has approved 10 producers there to date and another 40 are awaiting approval.
“Many aren’t big businesses yet but they have plans for being big,” Creekpaum said. “We’re planning for the future and preparing to meet that big power load.”
The rate for pot businesses also reflects a higher cost of electricity. The cheapest block of Bonneville power allocated to the district is being utilized by existing customers. Kitsap PUD (sic) is negotiating a new block to service marijuana businesses and other new customers, but it will be more expensive, Creekpaum said.
According to news reports, other Washington utility districts wrestled this year with how to accommodate marijuana businesses given the ambiguity from Bonneville.
The issue isn’t pressing in Kitsap County, where power is supplied by Puget Sound Energy. PSE draws electricity from a wide variety of sources, including its own plants. Spokesman Ray Lane said PSE is serving legal marijuana businesses and is confident it can accommodate their power needs.
“PSE has a duty and obligation to serve customers under Washington state law,” Lane said in a provided statement. “If there’s a legal business in our service territory that needs our services, we welcome them as a customer.”
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Proposed Bonneville Power Administration Rate Increase Will Maintain Value of Power & Transmission Systems (Bonneville Power Administration)
(PORTLAND, OR) -- To keep pace with needed investments in the Federal Columbia River Power System, which provides carbon-free hydropower at cost to Northwest public utilities, the Bonneville Power Administration today proposed a 6.7 percent average wholesale power rate increase for the fiscal year 2016-2017 rate period. BPA is also proposing a 5.6 percent increase in its transmission rates to sustain and expand the federal transmission system to meet regional needs, including renewable resource integration.
“During my time at BPA, I have become acutely aware of the economic impact our rates have on Northwest public utilities and the communities they serve,” said Elliot Mainzer, BPA administrator and chief executive officer. “However, these rate increases are necessary to sustain the tremendous value of the federal power and transmission system and to meet the electricity needs of the Northwest in a reliable and environmentally sustainable way.”
In January, BPA began a discussion with the region about its proposed program levels, future costs and potential rates for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. At the outset of those discussions, BPA forecast double-digit increases for both its power and transmission rates. Over the next nine months, BPA conducted extensive public review of its programs and budgets in a regional process called the Integrated Program Review.
The IPR process allows interested parties to see all relevant FCRPS spending level estimates in the same forum. The IPR occurs every two years, just before each rate case, providing participants with an opportunity to review and comment on BPA’s program level estimates before spending levels are set for inclusion in the rate case. Program levels for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 were included in the Final IPR Close-out Report released in October of this year.
“Working closely with our customers and other regional stakeholders over the past nine months, we managed to significantly cut the forecasted rate increases,” added Mainzer.
The rate proposals will be considered during a public rate-setting process beginning in early December and culminating in July 2015 decisions on final rates to take effect Oct. 1, 2015.
BPA is a nonprofit federal wholesale utility that receives no Congressional appropriations and must recover its costs through its rates. The new rates will affect local retail utilities differently depending on the amount of power and type of services they purchase from BPA. Local utilities ultimately determine the retail impact of BPA rates on individual businesses and residents.
Even though power-related program level increases were kept below the rate of inflation, factors besides inflation make the wholesale power rate increase necessary. About 5 percentage points of the proposed 6.7 percent increase is due to costs associated with past capital spending – an increase of about $94 million a year.
Also contributing to the rate increase are increases in operating and maintenance costs for the federal hydroelectric program ($34 million), an automatic cost escalation under the long-term 2012 Residential Exchange Program settlement ($18 million per year), the need to acquire transmission service to meet obligations to deliver power to customers who are not directly connected to BPA’s transmission system ($12 million per year) and rising fish and wildlife costs.
To offset a portion of these increases, BPA has been able to take advantage of unique opportunities, including: the repeal of the spent-fuel disposal fee that the U.S. Department of Energy charged Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station, saving an average of $7.4 million a year; a reduction in BPA’s forecast for the joint-funded Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance budget, saving about $2.5 million a year; refinancing of Energy Northwest regional cooperation debt for 2014-17, saving about $29 million a year; a decrease in operating costs at the Columbia Generating Station, saving approximately $26 million a year; and a $20 million undistributed reduction in the power revenue requirement.
Additional reviews of transmission programs presented in the IPR confirmed that BPA has reduced programs levels as much as possible while still being certain it can meet the needs of the region. Factors contributing to the rate increase include the need to sustain and expand an aging Federal Columbia River Transmission System to maintain reliability and continue the integration of renewable resources, such as wind; increased mandatory compliance and additional cyber and physical security requirements and other operational and maintenance expenses; and the purchase of property insurance for BPA transmission facilities other than transmission lines and towers.
Earlier this fall, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved BPA’s Oversupply Management Protocol, a tool to manage the occasional seasonal oversupply of electricity generation, as well as an associated rate through fiscal year 2015. BPA is proposing to continue the oversupply rate for two more years using the same cost-allocation methodology and rate design.
Partial Ancillary and Control Area Services settlement
In September 2014, parties to the BP-16 rate case reached a settlement on the cost of generation inputs and transmission rates for ancillary and control area services, which include balancing for variable generators. The settlement agreement included in today’s Initial Proposal is posted on the BPA website. Most of the settled rates were kept at the same level as current rates, with a slight increase for Operating Reserves. The settlement will go through the rate case process. BPA staff will propose that the BPA administrator adopt the settlement in his record of decision in July 2015.
The settlement includes use of innovative tools BPA and its customers have created to integrate new resources into BPA’s system. The agreement is made possible due to advances in BPA’s ability to obtain third-party balancing resources. Given this progress and work being done in market design, the settlement gives BPA time to allow these efforts to mature and become long-term, sustainable solutions for the integration of new resources into BPA’s transmission system. The settlement did not address two ancillary services, Scheduling System Control and Dispatch Service and Reactive Supply and Voltage Control from Generation Sources Services.
In October, BPA also began offering its transmission customers the opportunity to schedule energy in 15-minute increments. By offering 15-minute scheduling, BPA has removed barriers to integrating variable energy resources, as provided for in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 764. In the upcoming rate period, Variable Energy Resource Balancing Service customers (principally wind) can enjoy a saving of up to 50 percent from their current rate if they commit to schedule every 15 minutes. In addition, BPA believes that 15-minute scheduling could significantly reduce its balancing reserve capacity requirements.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Feds: Pacific Northwest Ratepayer Spending on Salmon Paying Off “…BPA power customers…paid $682 million last year to support fish & wildlife programs, accounting for about one-third of the power marketer’s wholesale rates…” (Electric Co-op Today)
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Pacific Northwest Public Utilities, Bonneville Power Administration Top Five-Year Energy Savings Target (Bonneville Power Administration)
Public power, BPA have saved at least 560 average megawatts since 2010(PORTLAND, OR) -- Since 2010, Northwest publicly owned electric utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration have saved at least 560 average megawatts of electricity, greatly surpassing the five-year goal of 504 aMW set by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Sixth Power Plan.
“Public power and BPA continue to lead the region’s energy efficiency efforts,” says Richard Génecé, vice president of Energy Efficiency. “And this fantastic accomplishment could only be achieved through the great collaboration that we have here in the Pacific Northwest.”
Although energy savings are still being reported, BPA and Northwest publicly owned electric utilities are projecting that they will have saved more than 560 aMW of electricity between 2010 and 2014. The five years of savings is enough to meet the power needs of more than 400,000 Northwest homes and adds up to at least $360 million in lower electric bills for Northwest ratepayers. The final savings achieved will be more precisely known in early 2015.
BPA and publicly owned electric utilities in the Northwest have worked hard not only to achieve but to substantially exceed the aggressive energy efficiency target.
“Public power’s investment in energy efficiency has produced impressive savings in the past five years,” said Scott Corwin, executive director of the Public Power Council, which represents the interests of publicly owned utilities in the Northwest. “This would not be possible without the commitment at the local level by utilities who know the needs of their retail customers.”
The region’s energy-saving goals are set by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which includes two members from each of the four Northwest states (Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington). BPA and Northwest publicly owned utilities administer programs that pursue cost-effective energy savings in all sectors of the economy in support of public power’s share of the region’s energy efficiency target. Public power utilities are responsible for roughly 42 percent of the total regional target. This includes providing incentives for energy-saving upgrades, developing and implementing cutting-edge programs, and advancing new energy-efficient technologies, codes and standards.
Since 2010, there have been a number of standouts in the region’s efforts to enhance energy efficiency. Programs like BPA’s award-winning Energy Smart Industrial more than doubled the savings industrial facilities achieved compared to the previous five years (from 35 to over 75 aMW). The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, an organization that furthers the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices, supported by BPA, worked to improve the efficiency of the television market in the Northwest and achieved over 70 aMW of regional savings.
Standouts notwithstanding, a commitment to working together has been the key to success.
“Whether it’s an upgrade for a homeowner or a process improvement at an industrial plant, collaboration between utility and BPA staff and our members is essential to achieving the region’s energy conservation goals,” says Stan Price, executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, an industry association that promotes energy efficiency.
The region has exceeded the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s annual targets every year since 2005. Early reporting shows that BPA and Northwest publicly owned electric utilities saved 55 aMW of energy in fiscal year 2014, exceeding the target range of 48 to 56 aMW. (The fiscal year 2014 savings figure is preliminary and likely to be adjusted after all reporting from utilities is submitted and verified.)
“The region’s impressive accomplishments are saving money for consumers, protecting the environment by helping to limit carbon emissions from power plants, and keeping our electricity supply the cleanest and least expensive in the nation,” said Pat Smith, chair of the Council’s Power Committee, which is overseeing development of the upcoming Seventh Power Plan.
Since Congress passed the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act in 1980, over half of the region’s new demand for electricity has been met through energy savings. In those 34 years, the Northwest has saved 5,600 aMW of electricity, enough energy to power four cities the size of Seattle for an entire year or about $3.5 billion in reduced electric bills for the people and businesses of the Northwest.
“Energy efficiency is our cleanest, quickest, cheapest new power source, and critical to meeting our carbon-reduction responsibilities,” said Sara Patton, NW Energy Coalition executive director. “We applaud Bonneville’s continuing efforts to help the region’s utilities meet and exceed their savings goals, and look forward to even greater accomplishments in coming years.”
According to the Council, the average cost of efficiency improvements is about $17 per megawatt-hour, about five times less than the cost of power from a new gas-fired plant. So without energy efficiency, the region would need to generate enough additional electricity to power 3.6 million Northwest homes.
“Northwesterners should be proud of the fact that energy efficiency is the second-largest power resource in the region,” Génecé adds. “By using energy more efficiently, we can extend the value of the federal power system and its ability to continue to provide clean, affordable, reliable energy for the region.”
Monday, November 24, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
(CHEHALIS, WA) -- Monday was a banner day at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery in Lewis County, where a record number of Coho salmon have already returned for the season. Tacoma Power reports from August 16 through November 17, employees handled more than 87,000 Coho adults, topping the previous record of a little over 85,600 set in the 2002-2003 season. The Coho run is still going strong and the utility anticipates the total for the 2014-2015 season will exceed 95,000 adult fish. The season ends in March 2015.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
(PASCO, WA) -- Ed Brost, General Manager of Franklin PUD since May 2008, notified PUD Commissioners on Monday, November 10th of his decision to step down from the position by May 2015. He told Commissioners, “It has been a privilege to work with you and lead a great group of employees in serving District customers.”
Brost joined Franklin PUD in November 2006. In addition to his role as General Manager, he serves on the Executive Committee of the Public Power Council, on the board of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, and the Energy Committee of the Washington PUD Association. He also serves on the Executive and Resource Development Committees of the local United Way.
Franklin PUD will begin a search for a new General Manager immediately. Brost will continue to serve as General Manager until the new hire is on board. Information on the job posting will be available on the Franklin PUD website at www.franklinpud.com by December 1.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014
Idaho: State’s Broadband Costs Could Decrease “…costs are going down, because more schools are switching from copper wire to fiber optics…” (Twin Falls Times-News, ID)
Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Portland General Electric Status Report: Earnings Are Up, New Rates Are in the Offing & Three New Power Stations Are in the Pipeline (Portland Business Journal, OR)
Friday, October 24, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Kieran Connolly Named Bonneville Power Administration Vice President of Generation & Asset Management (Bonneville Power Administration)
More than half of BPA exec team now permanent – including four of five in Power Services
(PORTLAND, OR) - Kieran Connolly has been named Bonneville Power Administration vice president of Generation and Asset Management in Power Services. Connolly’s appointment leaves only one executive position vacant among the five in BPA Power Services.
“Managing the federal system with our partners to meet the multiple purposes it serves is fundamental to the success of BPA and the region,” said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “Kieran’s knowledge, background and experience are ideally suited for this position as we continue to manage power system operations in a changing and challenging Northwest energy landscape.”
Since April 2007, Connolly has served as BPA manage r of Generation Scheduling, which includes hydroelectric duty scheduling of the 31 dams in the Federal Columbia River Power System, day-ahead system planning and policy issues that impact real-time power system operations. Before that, Connolly was manage r of Regional Coordination in Power Services Generation and Asset Management’s Power and Operations Planning group. That job required knowledge of long-term sys tem modeling, coordination with Canada and fish operations.
In informing BPA Power Services employees of the decision, Senior Vice President Mark Gendron wrote: “Kieran has great knowledge of the federal power system and very impressive and diverse experience over a 23-year tenure at BPA. Kieran’s analytical, leadership, collaborative, and problem solving skills will be invaluable for BPA in his new role. He is perfectly suited to lead the organization to pre serve and enhance the federal generation assets that provide tremendous economic, environmental and operational value to the region.”
“I am honored to be asked to fill this role at a time when the hydro system is being asked to do so much,” Connolly said. “I look forward to ensuring the system continues to provide incredible value to Northwest ratepayers.”
Connolly began his career at BPA in 1991 as a supply system analyst. He holds a B.S. degree in Business Economics from Willamette University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Portland. He lives in Beaverton, Ore., with his wife, Allison, and their three children.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
(CENTRALIA, WA) -- Centralia College and the Center for Excellence for Clean Energy, a Centralia College partnership, received word Monday they have been awarded a federal grant for nearly 10-million dollars. According to the college, the project, called Washington Integrated Sector Employment or WISE, is a statewide initiative that will reach nearly 2,000 adults including veterans. WISE brings together the clean energy, construction, and advanced manufacturing sectors to help prepare participants for employment in entry level, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship occupations. It will address the needs of unemployed, or under-employed dislocated workers, using innovative and sophisticated strategies.