Category: Conservation

Call for wind award nominations

Western is calling for nominations for the 2011 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award now through Feb. 13 to honor one electric cooperative for its leadership and investments in wind power.

All electric cooperatives in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a national service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit electric providers, are eligible to apply. Nominations are due to Randy Manion at

“This is one of the most effective technology transfer activities because it inspires other cooperatives to investigate wind energy opportunities in and adjacent to their service territories,” said Manion, Western’s Renewable Resource Program Manager.

The winner will be recognized at the 2012 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association TechAdvantage Conference in San Diego, Calif., March 8. Last year’s winner was Minnkota Power Cooperative, a Western customer located in Grand Forks, N.D.

For more information or to nominate a cooperative, visit

Infrared Camera Workshop Jan. 9

An Infrared Camera Workshop being held on Jan. 9, 2012 in Billings, Mont., is a partnership with Western and Montana State University Billings-College of Technology. This one-day workshop offers your utility hands-on training in Fluke and Flir infrared cameras’ technology and software, as well as guidance on integrating IR cameras into efficiency program development and utility O&M.

This unique workshop presents insight into designing an IR program, reading IR images for utility applications, field training with cameras and how to work with customers to use IR camera data.

See Western’s Energy Services Web page to register and see the agenda for the workshop. Seating is limited to first come first serve, so register today.

Let holiday lighting shine bright without breaking the budget

Holiday lights can illuminate our homes with cheer inside and out, but with energy costs continuing to increase, saving money on the power it takes to run those lights could help many businesses and family budgets.
Instead of using incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diode lights and fiber optic trees are two energy-efficient technology options that can substantially reduce your energy costs and increase safety at the same time. Products are available for residential and commercial applications, and the ENERGY STAR® program now has specifications for decorative light strings.
Read more about holiday lighting choices in the Energy Services’s Holiday Lighting 2011 Fact Sheet.
An infrared camera shows how much heat the lighting on the tree produces.

An infrared camera shows how much heat the lighting on the tree produces.

Western's office christmas tree
Western’s office christmas tree

Reclamation Extends Comment Period on Glen Canyon Dam Operations EIS

After receiving a number of requests, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Park Service decided to extend the scoping period for a new Environmental Impact Statement related to the operation of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River from Dec. 30 to Jan. 31.

During the scoping period, agencies determine what factors to consider in the EIS and gather comments from the public to identify social, economic and environmental concerns and project alternatives to evaluate.

The EIS, which is jointly led by Reclamation and the Park Service, involves adopting a Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan for the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam.

The plan, the first comprehensive review of dam operations in 15 years, will ensure that regulated flows on the Colorado River meet the goals of supplying hydroelectricity and water for communities, agriculture and industry; protecting endangered species; and lessening the impact on downstream ecosystems, including the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon.

Changes to current water flows will be evaluated as “alternatives” in the EIS.

For more information on the EIS or how to submit a comment, visit the project’s web site.

Glen Canyon management plan overhaul

In an effort to improve and protect the resources of the Grand Canyon, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service initiated a public process on Nov. 7 to review the timing and volume of water flow from Glen Canyon Dam. This includes the management of the dam over the next 15 to 20 years.

A Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan will be developed to ensure that the water flow management on the Colorado River meets goals of supplying water for communities, agriculture and industry, and protecting the natural resources and fish species of the Grand Canyon, while providing hydropower.

The next step is to develop an environmental impact statement.

In addition to the meetings, written comments are being accepted through Dec. 30 of this year, with a draft study expected to be released in 2013.

More information, visit the Glen Canyon Dam 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.

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?