Category: General

One in a million: Western restores power quickly to Cody, Wyo., Feb. 23

Western’s line crew from the Cody maintenance shop string new cable on the Big George-to-Glendale Tap 69-kV line after a winter storm took down the line Feb. 23, causing an outage in northwest Wyoming.

On the surface, the outage that affected northwest Wyoming at about 9:10 a.m. Feb. 23 seems straight forward: A winter storm took down a 69-kilovolt transmission line north of Cody near the Park County Regional Landfill, thrusting the local utilities and the residents of Cody, Powell, Willwood, Garland and Ralston into darkness for nearly two hours.

Power was restored at about 10:50 a.m., but it wasn’t because the downed line was back on the towers.

The evening before, another event about 60 miles away from the downed line, probably caused by wind swinging the cables, called conductors, too close together on the Lovell-to-North Cody 69-kV transmission line, cut off the back-up power feed to the area through the Lovell Substation. This problem left the Big George-to-Glendale Tap 69-kV line the only power source in the area.

 “This was a one in a million deal for us,” said Cody Field Manager Doug Padgett, who responded to the Lovell Substation. “You had two separate, distinct problems caused by two separate, distinct events. It was not expected at all.”

Check out the full story on how Western and the local community worked together to restore power in Wyoming at Western’s Newsroom.

Western hosts wind, solar interconnection workshop

Western is teaming up with the Utility Wind Integration Group, American Public Power Association and the Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power, Solar Energy Technologies and Tribal Energy programs to present the sixth annual Distributed Wind/Solar Interconnection Workshop, Feb. 22 to 24.

The workshop, taking place at Western’s Electric Power Training Center in Golden, Colo., provides a comprehensive overview of wind and solar integration studies. 

Expert speakers will use case studies to answer questions about interconnecting wind and solar plants and other distributed generation applications to electric distribution systems. Participants will get an introduction to UWIG’s Internet-based tools for assessing a distributed wind project’s impact on the local distribution system.

Registration and $300 is required to attend the workshop in person. Those interested can also attend four online sessions for just $99. 

Find out more at Western’s Newsroom or the event announcement.

Ridgeview Classical wins Rocky Mountain regional science bowl

Ridgeview Classical Schools of Fort Collins won the Rocky Mountain Regional Science Bowl Feb. 18 at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Colo. The winning team, including Jordan Diemer, Artem Bolshakov, Caleb Jhones, Luke Boustred, Alexander Horne and Coach Paula Petterson, advances to Washington, DC, April 26-30 to compete against more than 77 other regional winners in the national finals of the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl.

Fairview High School of Boulder finished second and Poudre High School of Fort Collins finished third. Find out more at Western’s Newsroom.

STRIPES to streamline procurement process

Todd Tetrault completes the first production purchase via STRIPES

Senior Contracting Officer Todd Tetrault completes the first production purchase via STRIPES, verifying web service connection between STRIPES and BIDDS.

A new procurement management system for Western had been in the works since 2008, but on Feb. 1 became a reality when the Strategic Integrated Procurement Enterprise System was implemented throughout Western. STRIPES is a procurement and contract management program, chosen by the Department of Energy to be used agencywide as part of the electronic government initiative. Its implementation reduces the number of procurement-related systems used across DOE and streamlines many aspects of the procurement process.

Read the full story on Western’s website.

Western customer recognized for including the public in IRP process

Western’s Rocky Mountain Region Manager Brad Warren  presented Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s CEO Ken Anderson an Administrator’s award in recognition of Tri-State’s exceptional energy efficiency and renewable energy contributions.

Tri-State earned this peer-recognition award for going above the standards to engage the public in its Integrated Resource Plan process.

“Tri-State went the extra mile to involve stakeholders, and that was a tremendous effort to undertake,” said Warren.

See the news release for more information.

Western helps neighboring utility overcome storm damage

Lineman Ryan Wheeler from Western’s Redding maintenance office uses a hot stick to remove snow from a transmission line.

Lineman Ryan Wheeler from Western’s Redding maintenance office uses a hot stick to remove snow from a transmission line.

A Western Sierra Nevada line crew heeded a call for mutual aid and assistance from a neighboring utility and customer Jan. 20 in response to the unexpectedly severe Pacific Northwest winter storm, which had extensively damaged the utility’s local transmission system.

Western’s Sierra Nevada Region Redding line crew worked closely with linemen from Trinity Public Utilities District along steep and rugged terrain Jan. 20 through 22 to restore power to the citizens of Weaverville, Douglas City, Lewistown and Hayfork in northern California, or about 8,000 citizens.

Read more at Western’s Newsroom.

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.

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.

Western wins APPA 2011 Annual Report Contest award

Ingenuity and creativity in copy, design, financial data, graphics and communicating the agency’s special story earned Western the American Public Power Association’s Award of Merit for Western’s Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report.

On Wednesday, Annual Report Project Manager Jennifer Neville accepted the award on behalf of Western during the APPA Customer Connections Conference in Savannah, Ga. “I feel honored that our efforts to support our customers and to communicate on a level that matches their style is being recognized,” Neville remarked. 

The APPA award is the first that Western’s annual reports have received. Neville believes that the report was selected due to its different visual look and style. “This is the first year that we have used a graphical, painted theme rather than photographs,” Neville explained. “Once we devised the theme, Roadmap for Renewable Energy, Graphical Designer, Grant Kuhn, came up with designs, and this one was the clear choice by Senior Managers.”

Read more on Western’s website.

Bill to repeal TIP’s borrowing authority moves to full House

House Resolution 2915, which proposes to repeal Western’s Transmission Infrastructure Program’s $3.25 billion borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury, passed the House of Representatives Committee of Natural Resources with no amendments Oct. 5 with a 26-17 straight party-line vote.

While the three projects currently approved to use the borrowing authority – TransWest Express (development phase), Electrical District 5 – Palo Verde Hub and the Montana Alberta Tie, Limited – would not be impacted by the bill’s passage, no other projects being considered would receive funding.

“New transmission is urgently needed in the western United States.  And yet, getting lines in the air has been far too slow over the past few decades,” said Lauren Azar, senior advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a written testimony for a Sept. 22 hearing with the Subcommittee on Water and Power. “Western’s $3.25 billion of permanent, indefinite, borrowing authority is, therefore, a critical tool for addressing two of the major energy challenges we now face in the West — the need for additional transmission infrastructure and integration of renewables onto the grid.”

The bill will now be considered in the full House.

TIP’s borrowing authority constructs or upgrades transmission infrastructure within Western’s 15-state service area that has the reasonable expectation of helping deliver renewable generation to customers and is in the public interest.