Category: Education

Aberdeen Central High School wins S.D. regional science bowl

South Dakota Regional Science Bowl winners

Aberdeen Central’s Team No. 2 was the winner of the 2012 South Dakota Regional Science Bowl held Saturday at Huron Event Center. The team qualified for the national tournament this April in Washington, D.C. Pictured are, from left, Coach Janet Palmer, Diana Peck, Matthew Guthmiller, Patrick Dawn, Coach Chuck Hermansen and Luke Malsom. (Photo courtesy of Sean M.X. Kelley, Plainsman newspaper)

Aberdeen Central High School Team 2 of Aberdeen, S.D., won the South Dakota Regional Science Bowl Jan. 21 at the Huron Event Center. The winning team, including Diana Peck, Patrick Dawn, Matthew Guthmiller and Luke Malsom and Coaches Jan Palmer and Chuck Hermansen, advances to Washington, D.C., April 26-30 to compete against 77 other regional winners in the national finals of the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl.

Aberdeen Central High School Team 1 finished second and Rapid City Central High School of Rapid City, S.D., finished third.

Twenty-one teams from high schools all over South Dakota competed for the regional title. Many of these teams spent months preparing for this regional event, which features head-to-head competition in a fast-paced question and answer format similar to Jeopardy. The students competed to be the first to answer questions on all science disciplines including astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, mathematics and physics, as well as math.

This is the 19th year for the South Dakota Regional Science Bowl hosted by Western Area Power Administration. Science Bowl encourages high school students to excel in math and science and to pursue careers in those fields.

More than 13,000 high school students from schools in 46 states and Puerto Rico will compete in the national competition. Since 1991, more than 130,000 students and teachers have participated.

Western to hold opportunity session for Colorado’s small businesses

Western’s Small Business Program is leading a business opportunity session for Denver and Colorado Springs small businesses Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at Western’s Corporate Services Office in Lakewood, Colo.

The session will develop connections between small businesses and Federal acquisition and program managers and will include breakout sessions, networking, familiarization with Western’s acquisition process and opportunities for small businesses in fiscal year 2012.

There is no cost to attend, and no reservations required. For more information, contact Cheryl Drake at drake@wapa.gov.

Western’s Small Business Program achieved great success in FY 2011. Western awarded 71 percent of its appropriated funds to small businesses, nearly tripling the government-wide goal of 23 percent. Western also outpaced Department of Energy objectives for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Women-Owned and Small Disadvantaged small businesses, among others.

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

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.

See the latest proposed construction projects

Western is involved with many transmission projects throughout its 15-state territory. To ensure reliable service the system often needs upgrades, additions or other modifications. So in addition to maintenance of Western’s existing infrastructure, the agency often is involved with supporting or leading proposed construction projects to keep the bulk electrical system running smoothly.

You can learn more about several construction projects Western is currently involved in on our “Infrastructure projects” webpage.

As you click through the proposed upgrades, you will see Western’s strong commitment to complying with the National Environmental Protection Act. For nearly all  projects, we conduct environmental studies to determine the impact these infrastructure projects will have on the area’s land, habitat, water, endangered and protected species  and cultural and historical resources.

From our website you can see the proposed projects and construction planned for your local area to ensure the lights stay on in your home or business.

Transmission workshop creates networks, possibilities

Meeting Transmission Challenges in the Rocky Mountain Region, a workshop held June 21 in Fort Collins, Colo., proved that “if you plan it, they will come.”
 
Western brought together transmission customers, tribes, developers, state and Federal agencies and utilities to discuss Western’s transmission planning and services and to discuss transmission challenges in the region.
“There is need for transmission to support new generation across Western’s 15-state service territory,” said RM Contracts and Energy Services Specialist and workshop host Bob Langenberger. “But there are regulations, competing state needs and the question of where generation is built and the transmission to get it to market.”

With several organizations and different interests represented, the workshop pointed out the common desire to develop interconnections to the transmission system. “It’s important to come together, identify all those interests and find good investment solutions that best meet those desires, while maintaining the power grid’s reliability,” said Desert Southwest’s Transmission Services Manager Ron Moulton.

Moulton recognized how important this meeting was for Western and its customers. He explained, “There’s a considerable amount of energy needs in Western’s service territory. It’s important for us to understand customer needs and concerns to meet those needs in an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way.”

Read the full story at Energy Services Bulletin.

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.

Two Texas wind energy leaders win 2011 Public Power Award

(Note: Submitted to DOE’s blog by Western’s Renewable Energy Program Manager Randy Manion.)

With their successful and creative use of wind power, Texas’ CPS Energy and Denton Municipal Electric beat out 15 other nominees to win the 2011 Public Power Award on June 21, reported the Department of Energy’s blog.

The winners

The two energy providers won for their outstanding contributions in the industry, specifically:

CPS Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, provides 10 percent of its total energy through its voluntary Windtricity program—and expects to increase this to 20 percent by 2020.

Denton Municipal Electric of Denton, Texas, purchased enough wind power—539,000 MWh—from the Wolf Ridge Wind Farm last fiscal year to power about 49,450 homes. In just one year, Denton’s purchase has reduced air pollution by preventing the release of 424,128 tons of carbon dioxide, 206 tons of nitrogen oxide and 1,257 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions.

The annual Public Power Award, sponsored by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative and the American Public Power Association, recognizes public power utility companies at the forefront of developing America’s vast wind resources and providing affordable electricity to customers. The program is managed by Western’s Renewable Energy Program.

Mira Loma takes National championship, wins trip to Australia

Working their way back to Washington, D.C., Mira Loma High School took the title back as the Department of Energy’s 2011 Science Bowl Champions.  Coach James Hill took home the 2009 championship and brought back another top team to the winners’ circle this year. Team members Russell Islam, Siddharth Trehan, Andrew Chen, Anish Khare, Sriram Pendyala receive an all-expense-paid trip in July to the International Science School in Sydney, Australia.

During the awards ceremony, Secretary Chu shared with more than 500 students why math and science is so important to our country’s future. He stated, “I have no doubt that the exceptional talent and hard work that earned them the Science Bowl championship will serve them well throughout their lives, as they help our Nation tackle the crucial scientific and engineering challenges we’ll face in the years ahead. America’s future will always be bright when we continue to invest in and support the young minds who will be tomorrow’s innovators, pioneers and leaders. That’s what the science bowl is all about.”

Western hosts six regional science bowls—including the one Mira Loma won in Sacramento—to help fulfill the Secretary of Energy’s vision of the future in science and technology.