Category: Efficiency

Western to sponsor annual exchange

The fifth Annual Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange takes place Oct. 12 to 14 in Aspen, Colo. Western’s Energy Services program is providing a Green Level sponsorship for the event, which includes a display at the conference and recognition in all promotional materials. Western will co-chair program sessions on residential energy efficiency. The conference theme is “How Well Are Your Energy Programs Working?” Additional information may be found at Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange website.

New process save linemen time

Helicopter assists DSW linemen with insulator change.

Desert Southwest linemen show us an example of an insulator change using an N619DE helicopter. This is a relatively new work process that began early this year. It allows repairs like this to be completed very quickly resulting in shorter outage times and much less cost compared to conventional methods such as bringing in a bucket truck. All required tools and hardware are also flown into the structure tower.

DSW linemen installing new insulator

The first step is the helicopter removes the old insulator from its cradle. The pilot then flies in the new insulator and sets the end of it onto the cradle of the old insulator. The linemen guide the new insulator horizontally into the cradle as the pilot lowers it down. The linemen then attach the insulator to hardware and conductor.

Students see inside hydropower operations

A group of students look past the camera to the power dispatch center

Twenty-three fellows participating in the Hydro Research Foundation Program take an inside look at power system operations at Western’s Sierra Nevada office in Folsom, Calif.

Understanding how water held behind large dams is converted to usable electricity for homes and business can be explained in many ways, but seeing the process in action can make all the difference.

Twenty-three students under the Hydro Research Foundation’s Fellowship program did just that July 18. As part of their week-long Hydro Vision International conference focused on “Clean Energy,” these fellows took a tour of Western Area Power Administration’s Sierra Nevada power dispatch center in California, as well as Bureau of Reclamation’s Folsom Dam and Reservoir. Employees from both agencies briefed participants on water, hydropower and power system and transmission operations.

Hydro Research Foundation Program Director Deborah Linke, a former Western employee, led the tour. Linke said, “The fellows are really neat—they’re bright, full of energy and have lots of good ideas.”

Hydro Research Foundation’s Fellows program, funded by a $3 million Department of Energy grant, encourages participants to seek advanced knowledge about hydroelectric technology, including ways to make it more efficient and limit the environmental impacts.

Learn more about hydropower
While not everyone has the time and energy to tour facilities to understand how hydropower works, reading about how it’s created and gets to your home can be very helpful. Western’s Harnessing Hydropower brochure (pdf) offers an overview of how generating agencies—like the Bureau of Reclamation—capture the energy of this natural resource that Western then markets to your local towns, cooperatives, public utilities and others that continue to power your computers, appliances and lights in your home or business.

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.

‘Watts up’ with your holiday lights?

The weather outside may be frightful, but your energy bill doesn’t have to be, if you use energy efficient holiday lights.

Whether you deck the halls inside or out, whether you use light strands to trim the tree or your house, here are some tidbits from Western’s Energy Services staff about the energy you’re using, as well as the safety aspect of decorating your home.

The following chart provides a breakdown of how much eary is consumed by different types of light bulbs. You can adjust the assumed energy price per kWh to more accurately reflect your local energy costs.

Did you know?

  • An extension cord that is too small can overheat and start a fire, without tripping the breaker.
  • A florescent flood light won’t work well when it’s below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and it may not work at all when the temperature dips below zero.
  • A string of 70 holiday lights can use as much as 350 watts, or the equivalent of two-and-a-half, three-way lamps.

Reduce holiday lighting energy use

Take safety and energy-efficient precautions when putting your lights up. “And if you’ve already put your lights up, take a look to make sure you put them up safely, so you don’t start a fire,” said Energy Services RepresentativeGary Hoffmann.

For starters, check the size of your extension cords and make sure they’re labeled with the amount of current they can carry. “When you get a new extension cord, use an indelible marker to label it with the capacity,” suggested Hoffmann. “That way if the label falls off, you still know what the capacity is.”

Also, remember not to string more than three light strands together outside because it could overload your extension cord or light strand and start a fire. “Generally, three 35-bulb cords of regular holiday lights may be connected on one extension cord,” explained Hoffmann. “But if you use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, you may use 12 strings of 70 bulbs per string and still be O.K.”

While LED lights may cost more initially, the energy costs they will save add up. “A string of LED lights use as little as two watts, where as a night light uses four watts,” added Hoffmann. “So they cost only about three cents to operate when used about five hours a day during the holiday season.

Energy Services shared these additional facts about LED holiday lighting options:

Safety—no chance of combustion, since the bulbs are cool to the touch, regardless of how long they are left on.

Sturdy bulbs—the epoxy lenses are virtually indestructible. These lights have a different appearance from familiar incandescent models, appearing to shimmer with movement as the light passes through the faceted bulbs.

LED bulbs don’t emit the same amount of light as incandescent lamps, although some new models on the market are closer to the brightness of incandescent. “Even so, LED lights can be used for beautiful and affordable holiday decorating,” said Hoffmann.

For more information, download Energy Services’ Holiday Lighting fact sheet.