Proposed 2021 Power Marketing Initiative

Western’s Upper Great Plains Region is seeking comments on the proposed 2021 Power Marketing Initiative. Western’s firm electric service contracts associated with the current marketing plan will expire Dec.31, 2011. This proposed 2021 PMI provides the basis for marketing the long-term firm hydroelectric resources of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program—Eastern Division beyond 2020.

The 2021 PMI proposes to extend the current marketing plan, with amendments, to key marketing plan principles.
Entities interested in commenting on the proposed 2021 PMI must submit written comments to Western’s Upper Great Plains Regional Office. Western must receive written comments by 4 p.m., MDT, on May 4.

Western will hold public information forums (not to exceed 2 hours) and public comment forums (immediately following the information forums) on this proposed 2021 PMI.

The public information and public comment forum dates and times are:

• April 13 at 8:30 a.m., CDT, in Lincoln, Neb.
• April 14 at 8:30 a.m., CDT, in Sioux Falls, S.D.
• April 20 at 8:30 a.m., CDT, in Bismarck, N.D.

Western will prepare and publish the final 2021 PMI in the Federal Register after all public comments on the proposed 2021 PMI are considered.

Learn more about the rate process in the Federal Register notice (pdf).

Western sponsors future science and math leaders

What property of a sound wave is most commonly associated with loudness? How many significant figures are in the number 0.00750? What is the proper name of the star that is most commonly noted to have coordinates closest to the north celestial pole?

High school students across Western’s service area faced questions like these at Western Regional Science Bowl competitions February and March. Western hosted six preliminary, regional competitions for the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl.  The winners include:

Winning teams from Western-sponsored regional competitions earned an all-expenses-paid trip to the national competition in Washington, DC, April 28 through May 2.

DOE launched its National Science Bowl competition in 1991 to encourage high school students to excel in science and math and to pursue careers in those fields. It now involves more than 4,500 students.

For more information about the national competition, visit DOE’s Science Bowl website.

Federal agencies offered easy tool to go “greener”

Federal agencies interested in meeting their renewable energy and/or greenhouse gas goals and mandates, improving the environment and supporting national energy security are invited to join the 2011 renewable energy certificate solicitation being issued by the U.S. Department of Energy, Western Area Power Administration and Federal Energy Management Program.

Participating in this solicitation is easy: download and complete the Statement of Intent for Federal Agencies to Purchase Renewable Resources available on the Renewable Resources for Federal Agencies website. Fax or e-mail the completed form to Mike Radecki at 406-255-2900 no later than May 15. Western will competitively procure the desired RECs with FEMP covering the administrative cost of the solicitation, a savings that will accrue to the participants. To learn more about this service offered by Western and FEMP, visit the Renewable Resources for Federal Agencies website.

Join us at 10 a.m. MST on March 8, for a 45-minute webinar covering the key requirements and steps associated with this REC purchase. To register for this event, send an e-mail to Debbie Rock or call her at 720-962-7271.
To learn more about this service offered by Western and FEMP, visit the Renewable Resources for Federal Agencies website.

What are RECs?
RECs represent the environmental benefits of renewable energy, sold separately from power generation. This request on behalf of Federal agencies will help meet the government’s renewable energy goals.

Western is extending public scoping comment deadline for wind projects

Wind mills in a fieldWestern is extending the deadline for scoping comments for the proposed Hyde County Wind Energy Center and Crowned Ridge Wind Energy Center projects from Jan. 14, 2011 to midnight Jan. 31, 2011.

Western published separate Federal Register Notices of Intent to prepare Environmental Impact Statements for the Hyde County Wind Energy Center Project and the Crowned Ridge Wind Energy Center Project in November 2010. Both Notices of Intent specified a 45-day public scoping period, which would end on Jan. 14, 2011. Western received a request for an extension of the public scoping period deadline to Jan. 30, 2010, due to the holidays. Western is granting that request.

The public is invited to submit comments on either proposed project at any time during the EIS process.

For more information about the extension, see the Jan. 18 Federal Register Notice.

Make energy-saving resolutions

Make energy-saving resolutions

January 1 has come and gone but it’s not too late to start a New Year resolution to conserve energy. And while you’re at it, why not add a second resolution…save money! If you’re serious about these resolutions, commit to one or more of the energy-saving tips below in 2011:

• Kill phantom energy loads by unplugging appliances when you’re not using them.
• Keep your hot water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and install a hot water heater insulating blanket. These two tips can save up to 15 percent in energy costs.
• Confirm that your programmable thermostat is set to the optimal settings. Turning back the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees when you’re not at home can save you around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.
• Check for air leaks in and around your home then apply caulking and weather stripping where needed.
• Purchase energy-efficient products, operate them efficiently, and incorporate more daylight into your home using energy-efficient windows and skylights.
• Analyze your energy bills. One of the best ways to truly understand how your home consumes energy is carefully reviewing your monthly utility bills.
• Only use rechargeable batteries. Aim to make your batteries rechargeable, a far cheaper option than constantly replacing them.

You can find more “easy-to-stick-to” energy-saving tips on the Energy Service website for utility customers or DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site for individuals.

What energy saving habits do you plan to start this year?

Video game systems: Energy vampires?

Since October is Energy Awareness Month, we wanted to share the latest research on video game energy consumption. Energy Services Representative Paula Fronk, at the Colorado River Storage Project Management Center, and her son Brady undertook the investigation of a common household energy consumer—the video game system.

With more than 40 percent of all homes in the United State owning video game consoles, the Natural Resource Defense Council estimates that these consoles consume about 16 billion kilowatt-hours each year—roughly, the electricity annually used by the city of San Diego. These deceptively small but greedy energy thieves are driving up electric bills, particularly in homes with multiple game systems or gamers.

The Fronk family found evidence that some systems use significantly more energy than others. Even so, the total energy consumption over a year is minor until you factor in the monitor’s energy use. Also, leaving the game in “idle” mode for hours on end to save a gaming session or downloading content consumes almost as much power as active play. If there is more than one gamer in the house, the electricity use—and dollars—can really add up.

I’ve seen our electric bill,” admitted Brady as he became more aware of the different aspects of energy use. “Playing isn’t the only way gaming uses electricity. When you download a game over the Internet, it can take hours, and the computer or system has to be on the whole time. Imagine thousands of people downloading those games. The energy use is amazing.”

To see the console energy use results and hear more about this topic, see the Energy Services Bulletin’s August 2010 issue. The ESB monthly provides energy related articles.

You can also download the pdf “Video Games: Energy Heist?” fact sheet, from Energy Services’ site.

Have renewable energy to sell?

Western Area Power Administration is looking to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs, on behalf of several Federal agencies.

In the Request for Proposals, also known as RFP, Western is seeking up to 584,000 megawatt-hours of RECs, over a 6-year period. Learn more about the solicitation and about RECs from Western’s press release.

If you’re interested in participating, you must mail or fax a response by July 2, 2010, at 4:30 p.m., MDT. See the current RFP for details on how to submit a proposal.

What are RECs?

RECs represent the environmental benefits of renewable energy, sold separately from power generation. This request on behalf of Federal agencies will help meet the government’s renewable energy goals.