Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Successful Energy Northwest bond sale benefits BPA customers (Bonneville Power Administration)

(PORTLAND, OR) -- Energy Northwest and the Bonneville Power Administration took the first step in an effort that could save BPA ratepayers as much as $1.8 billion in gross interest savings and restore up to $1.2 billion of BPA’s U.S. Treasury borrowing authority through 2044.

In particular, Energy Northwest sold BPA-supported bonds on Aug. 5 to refinance approximately $321 million of outstanding regional cooperation debt previously issued by Energy Northwest and associated with the never-completed nuclear Projects 1 and 3. This is the first of several potential bond sales that could lead to the refinancing of Energy Northwest nuclear assets that could yield the savings mentioned above.

“This agreement offers unique opportunities for savings,” said Nancy Mitman, BPA acting chief financial officer. “The net effect of refinancing through regional cooperation bonds is that both the weighted average interest rate and maturity of BPA’s overall debt portfolio will be reduced over the life of the proposal, thereby lowering interest costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and increasing U.S Treasury borrowing capacity for making much-needed investments in our infrastructure.”

Regional cooperation debt refers to existing debt associated with the Columbia Generating Station in Richland, Wash., and Projects 1 and 3 that also serves as a regional financial resource, providing remarkable debt management opportunities to lower costs of power for the benefit of the Pacific Northwest.

Similar efforts in the past helped BPA preserve and restore approximately $2 billion in U.S. Treasury borrowing authority and saved approximately $500 million in interest under BPA’s Debt Optimization Program.

The bond proceeds will be used to pay off Energy Northwest debt that is due to mature in 2014. The new bonds will be paid prior to the end of BPA’s existing regional power sales agreements in 2028. More particularly, the bond sale allows Energy Northwest to extend regional cooperation debt that was due in 2014 into the period between 2025 and 2028, a period that more closely matches the useful lives of the Energy Northwest facilities expected at the time the related facilities were initially financed. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heavy August Rains Wreak Havoc across Puget Sound Region (KOMO-TV, Seattle, WA)

Okanogan County Wildfires Intensify Need for Second Transmission Line (Electric Co-op Today)

Seattle City Light Users to Avoid Jolt from Surcharge (Seattle Times, WA - Paywall Advisory)

Klamath Salmon Advocates Ask More Water for Fish (Associated Press)

Southwest U-S Braces as Lake Mead Water Levels Drop (Associated Press)

Word Cloud - Energy News Digest for August 13, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Congressman Hastings Blasts Army Corps of Engineers Deal on Dams & Pollution (Tri-City Herald, WA)

First Nations Fear the Worst for British Columbia’s Salmon Run Following Mount Polley Mine Breach (Globe & Mail, Canada)

Northwest Power & Conservation Council Considers Multi-State Approach to Federal Carbon Rules (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Police Nab Copper Theft Suspects Who Duped Seattle City Light (KOMO-TV, Seattle, WA)

All Four National Wireless Companies Accused Of Breaking FCC Rules by Hiding Information about Data Throttling (Consumerist)

Word Cloud - Energy News Digest for August 7, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Russian Hackers Amass Over a Billion Internet Passwords (NY Times)

Bonneville Power Administration & U-S DOE Avoid Disclosure of Public Records on BPA’s Hiring Scandal – Again (Oregonian, Portland)

Tennessee Valley Authority Cutting Thousands of Jobs (Nashville Business Journal, TN)

British Columbia Sockeye Salmon Return in Doubt after Quesnel Spill - Fish will be swimming through the toxic debris field in two weeks (Vancouver Sun, BC)

Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge under Global Warming? (Cliff Mass Weather Blog)

Word Cloud - Energy News Digest for August 6, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Historic Settlement Requires Corps to Disclose Pollution at Columbia, Snake River Dams (Associated Press)

Okanogan County Electricity Should Be Back on by Thursday (Omak Chronicle, WA)

Windstorm 2014: Avista Releases Details of Outage; Biggest in Past 18 Years (KHQ-TV, Spokane, WA)

More Google Effect: The Competition for High-Speed Fiber Optic Internet is Escalating in 13 Cities (Washington Post)

Op/Ed: Public Needs Voice in Washington State Carbon Debate (Vancouver Columbian, WA)

World Cloud - Energy News Digest for August 5, 2014

Bonneville Power Administration’s Credit Ratings Affirmed, Bond Sale Will Save Customers Millions of Dollars (Bonneville Power Administration)

(PORTLAND, OR) -- The three major credit rating agencies affirmed the ratings on BPA-backed debt last week, paving the way for Energy Northwest, with BPA’s support and encouragement, to issue refinancing bonds that will result in substantial savings for the benefit of BPA’s ratepayers.

Energy Northwest will refinance approximately $321 million of outstanding debt associated with Energy Northwest’s never-completed nuclear Projects 1 and 3. That debt would otherwise be repaid in fiscal year 2014, but the repayment date is being extended by means of the new Energy Northwest Projects 1 and 3 bonds to more closely match the original expected useful lives of the projects.

This “regional cooperation debt” transaction will free-up funds that BPA expects to use to prepay equal amounts of higher-interest rate federal debt and thereby obtain approximately $130 million of present value savings. Regional cooperation debt refers to existing debt associated with the Columbia Generating Station and projects 1 and 3 that also serve as a regional financial resource, providing remarkable debt management opportunities to lower costs of power for the benefit of the Pacific Northwest.

This transaction is part of a larger debt restructuring proposal that could allow BPA to lower its Federal Columbia River Power System interest expense and reduce the weighted average maturity of BPA’s overall debt portfolio -- which includes Energy Northwest bonds, BPA’s appropriations repayment responsibilities and the bonds BPA issues to the United States Treasury, among other items. This transaction is expected to price on Aug. 5 and close on Aug. 21.

“Debt management measures such as this one have saved, and can continue to save, rate payer money,” said Javier Fernandez, BPA acting Treasury manager. “They can also provide us capital spending flexibility, which is important as we undertake capital intensive efforts to preserve and enhance the value of our hydro and transmission infrastructure.”

Similar efforts in the past helped BPA preserve and restore $2 billion in U.S. Treasury borrowing authority and saved $500 million in interest.

Energy Northwest, also with BPA’s support, may in the future refinance approximately $1.4 billion aggregate principal amount of outstanding regional cooperation debt that would otherwise mature in fiscal years 2015-2018. These possible future transactions would be similar to the 2014 regional cooperation debt transaction and could provide similar economic benefits. If the entire proposal is implemented, the projected savings would reduce BPA’s aggregate interest cost and restore valuable U.S. Treasury borrowing authority, an essential element in financing necessary capital investments in the Federal Columbia River Power System. Broad regional support led to the 2014 transaction and BPA believes that regional support appears to be building for the future possible regional cooperation debt transactions.

“BPA is extremely appreciative of the leadership of the Energy Northwest executive board and the management and staff of Energy Northwest for grappling with these refinancing efforts for the region,” added Fernandez.

The three bond rating agencies affirmed ratings on BPA-backed debt include: Standard & Poor’s (AA-), Moody’s (Aa1) and Fitch (AA). 

BPA is a nonprofit federal agency that markets renewable hydropower from 31 federal hydro projects in the Columbia Basin and power from Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station. BPA also operates three-quarters of high-voltage transmission line capacity in the Northwest and funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world. BPA and its partners have also saved enough electricity through energy efficiency projects to power four large American cities. For more information, contact us at 503-230-5131 or visit www.bpa.gov.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Washington State: As Oysters Die, Climate Policy Goes on the Stump (NY Times)

Strong Winds Bring Blackouts & Blocked Roads to the Inland Northwest – Again (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Editorial: Feds Need to Either Get On or Off the Pot (Ellensburg Daily Record, WA)

On Columbia, ‘Just Add Water’ Seems to be Working (Seattle Times, WA - Paywall Advisory)

CEO Tells Congress: Equity in Rural Broadband Needed (Electric Co-op Today)

Word Cloud - Energy News Digest for August 4, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Oregon Thunderstorms Knock Out Power, Topple Trees (KGW-TV, Portland, OR)

Avista Wants to Raise Idaho Electricity Rates (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA)

Kittitas County PUD Needs Answers on Pot Farm Electricity - Questions about using power from federal projects (The Daily Record, Ellensburg, WA)

Arizona Utility Opposing Rooftop Solar Seeking to Provide Panels - The same utility that fought residential rooftop solar, now wants to sell it to its customers (Renewable Energy World)

Google Fiber in Hillsboro: City Reaches Agreement with Google to Locate ‘Huts’ on Public Property (Oregonian, Portland)

Word Cloud - Energy News Digest for August 1, 2014