Administrative Assistant Kelly Rider under the Miracorp contract adjusts a "solar panel" on her homemade solar cooker while cooking beans to share with her coworkers in Folsom, Calif., May 1. Solar cooking is an easy, cheap, environmentally friendly and fun way to cook food and snacks using only the sun for power.
As part of the Sierra Nevada Earth Day celebration in California, Western employees partook in a scrumptious snack prepared entirely by the sun and a few common household supplies.
Miracorp contractor Kelly Rider used only solar energy, recycled paper boxes, clear plastic packing tape, aluminum foil and glue sticks to whip up some nanchos, beans and chocolate chip cookies for employees.
“Sacramento boasts about 200 days of sun each year, so why not use the sun to cook your food? It doesn’t heat up the house or use any cooking fuel. And the best part is it’s free!” said Rider.
Solar cooking works like a slow cooker set on low, so it doesn’t let food get dry or burned, and there’s no need to constantly stir or watch the food. “Using the sunshine is a great way to prepare and serve meals that are environmentally friendly and reduce your carbon footprint,” Rider added.
In case you’re wondering if solar cooking is only good for small snacks, Rider created a chicken and wild rice dinner the week before Earth Day as a trial run.
Do you have experience with solar cooking? Is it possible where you live? What other types of environmentally friendly cooking have you seen or done? If you want to learn more about solar cooking and its capabilities, visit Solar Cookers International at www.solarcookers.org
The Transmission Infrastructure Program Electrical District 5 – Palo Verde Hub project in Arizona’s Pinal and Maricopa counties reached a major
Completion of the 22-mile segment between ED5 and Test Track substations represents nearly half of the new and upgraded line construction needed to complete the project.
construction milestone recently with the completion of 22 miles of new 230-kilovolt transmission lines between ED-5 substation and Test Track substation.
The new segment of transmission line represents half of all new construction and line upgrades required for the project, which will increase transmission capacity to deliver renewable energy, primarily solar, to consumers in Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California.
Construction was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, saving Western and the project proponent money and keeping the project on track for early 2015 energization.
The next step in the project is to expand Test Track substation to accomodate the increased transmission capacity. At the same time, the other half of transmission line upgrades will continue through early 2014.
Insulation is being used to isolate the wire in the air from the equipment on the ground, as part of Phase II of the Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission line rebuild project, March 26, 2013
Contractors continue rebuilding two 115-kilovolt transmission lines as part of Phase II of the Lovell-to-Yellowtail project. With work in the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area complete in fall 2012, the construction contractor started removing the No. 2 line south of the NRA in Wyoming, March 25, 2013.
Crews have about 10 miles of the No. 2 line down and are working on setting new structures in cultivated fields before irrigation of farm land begins.
While crews work on the No. 2 line, the Lovell-to-Yellowtail No. 1 transmission line continues to deliver power from Yellowtail Dam.
The upgrades to the Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission lines No. 1 and 2 are needed to replace the original lines built by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1956 and 1966.
You can see more photos of the project’s construction on Flickr.
Acting Administrator Anita Decker, left, accepts a safety vest from Maintenance Manager Will Schnyer, Feb. 20, at the RMEL workshop. The vest is signed by all the Western employees who helped restore power in the northeast after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in late October 2012.
We want 100 percent efficiency and 100 percent reliability at Western; but the one category we always want to see zeros in is accidents and injuries.
Safety is part of the job, planning and culture at Western. From senior and direct managers to office and field workers, employees know how important it is for everyone to go home at the end of the day.
The long days Western crews put in helping with the restoration efforts in the northeast after Hurricane Sandy were no exception. “All together our guys worked more than 18,500 hours in the 10 days we were out there,” said Will Schnyer, a maintenance manager out of Montrose, Colo. “That’s like one person working 40 hours a week for almost 9 years! And our crews did it without a single accident or injury.”
To celebrate the success, all 91 Western employees who responded to the call after Hurricane Sandy signed a safety vest. Schnyer presented the vest to Western’s Acting Administrator Anita Decker at RMEL’s “Electric Utility Emergency Response—Hurricane Sandy and Beyond” workshop, Feb. 20, 2013.
“We appreciate all the support we received while we went to restore the power system in New Jersey,” said Schnyer. “Our success is really marked by our safe working record. We are really proud of that record and of our team.”
“I’m honored to be recognized by the Hurricane Sandy responders,” said Decker, “but I’m truly most proud of what it represents in regard to the collective safety of each and every person involved.”
How do you recognize your employees’ safety efforts or achievements?
E.M.F. Three little letters that strike terror into many hearts, but why?
Donna Shay, a Colorado citizen, asked Western to conduct an electric and magnetic field reading at her cabin that sits just outside a 115-kilovolt transmission line’s right-of-way. EMF readings determined about 1 milliGauss of exposure near her front door.
Mostly, it’s because we don’t understand electric and magnetic fields, or EMF.
The truth is people come into contact with these fields every day. EMFs occur naturally, like the magnetic field caused by currents deep inside Earth’s molten core. Manmade fields are also created by common appliances and equipment we depend on every day, like talking on a cell phone or heating up lunch in a microwave.
At Western, our high-voltage transmission lines and substations give off EMF, which sometimes concerns landowners with lines over and near their property. To help allay concerns, Western’s electrical engineers will test landowners’ EMF exposures from our transmission lines on request. Read more »
When you think of Wyoming and Montana in the winter, you might think “cold”—cold enough that you wouldn’t want to be outdoors working on the construction of a transmission line. But that’s exactly what Western crews will be doing this winter.
Western contractor operating the hydraulic press, right, with another crew member as his assistant to perform dead-ending operations as part of Phase 1 of the Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission line rebuild project.
Crews recently wrapped up rebuilding the Lovell-to Yellowtail No. 1 and No. 2 115-kilovolt transmission lines in the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area in Wyoming and Montana. They expect to begin reclamation of unneeded access roads soon. In Feb. 2013, they will begin rebuilding the sections of the lines north and south of the NRA.
The Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission lines are located between Lovell, Wyo., and Yellowtail Dam, Mont., and help provide the reliable transmission of Yellowtail Dam’s generation.
You can see more photos of Phase 1 construction on Flickr.
Lineman Joshua Bailey of the Cody, Wyo., maintenance office completes a pre-trip inspection on the 100-foot aerial manlift the morning of Nov. 1 before he and four other crewmates depart for Hoboken, N.J., to help with power restoration after Hurricane Sandy.
Western sent dozens of linemen, electricians, vehicles and supplies and two of its three Bell 407 helicopters to help repair storm damage to the electric grid in some of the hardest hit areas of New Jersey.
Along with its sister power marketing administrations Southwestern and Bonneville, Western has responded to calls for assistance from the Department of Energy to get the Northeast powered as quickly as possible.
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastating storm,” said Anita Decker, Western Acting Administrator. “The President has directed the Department of Energy, Western and the other power marketing administrations to work with the Northeast Utilities and do all we can to accelerate power restoration to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Western is proud to be part of this effort to help restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”
Western is providing daily updates and photos on its support to Hurricane Sandy at its website and Flickr account.
James Hirning, a Rocky Mountain transmission planner, talks about Western and transmission planning to engineering graduate students at the University of Denver Nov. 1.
Rocky Mountain transmission planner Jim Hirning talks with University of Denver engineering graduate students Nov. 1 about transmission planning in Western and the intricacies that go into devising how to keep the electric grid reliable in the coming decades. Transmission planning is an area of potential job growth for Western as new generation, particularly renewable, comes online and demand grows in the West. As of last year, Western had more than 11,000 megawatts of renewable energy in its interconnection queues and not enough people, or transmission, to work through the requests.
Western’s Upper Great Plains Region gets in the spirit in their local community and wins top honors. Participating in the 19th annual Great
Lisa Wolf (l) and Jack Winter (r) win the humorous award for Western's Huron employees' association
Scarecrow Festival, the Huron employees associations’ “Watts Up!” cow–a metal cow made out of old farm parts and other junk–competed against 33 other scarecrows taking the humorous scarecrow commercial/organization award and earning the traveling trophy.
Watts Up is a metal cow constructed from a fuel barrel welded to an old truck frame with a front and rear axle from an old truck. The whole idea was to make it from used junk; and, if it were farm-related, that was even better. Read more »
More than 100 electric utilities and industry representatives attended the sixth annual Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange in Aspen, Colo., Oct. 10 to12.
Ron Ebenkamp, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, invites Robin O'Day, San Isabel Electric; Ray Pierotti, La Plata Electric; Gary Myers, Poudre Valley; and Craig Tate, Holy Cross Energy, to discuss the major role lighting programs continue to play in utility energy-efficiency portfolios at the sixth annual Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange in Aspen, Colo., Oct. 10.
Co-sponsored by Western’s Energy Services office, the networking event provided energy and water utilities serving Colorado and neighboring states an open forum to learn and teach how to implement efficiency, renewable energy, demand response and key account customer management programs with their peers.
Read more »