Western Area Power Administrator Tim Meeks spoke in Denver, Colo., Feb. 7, at the Tribal Leader Forum “Exploring the Business Link Opportunity: Transmission and Clean Energy Development in the West.”
The forum, sponsored by the Department of Energy and the second in a series of events, provided an opportunity for tribal leaders to interact with industry and Federal leaders, get information about transmission development in the West and learn about the latest trends in financing clean energy projects.
Meeks focused his remarks on transmission expansion in the West and its impact on tribal land and shared, “When you look at our service area, we’re neighbors. We need this partnership, and we need to continue to work together.”
See the news release for more information.
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 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 Manion@wapa.gov.
“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 http://www.repartners.org/#windcoop11.
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.
Recently, the Western’s Desert Southwest Region updated its 10-year Capital Program. The Fiscal Year 2012 Capital Program provides both a capital investment plan, as well as a funding plan, that will ensure reliable power delivery to Western’s customers.
The updated program booklet clearly describes DSW’s strategy to construct and repair Western’s transmission lines; it entails DSW’s current goals and challenges to maintain reliability and outlines its major accomplishments for FY 2011; it also provides an opportunity for customer collaboration.
Program aligns Western’s, customers’ goals
The Capital Program is an ongoing project revised annually in response to approved funding allocations for the budget year, changes in project priority, unforeseen problems with the transmission system, mandates or regulatory requirements and new contractual requirements.
Fluctuations in funding make it difficult to plan which projects to carry out and at what pace to complete them. Appropriated funds don’t carry over from year to year, which means any excess funding that is still available at the end of the fiscal year cannot be used in subsequent years.
In FY 2010, Western and its customers decided that the best way to address the ongoing funding struggle was to use prepayment funding for selected construction projects, and it has significantly helped DSW’s position. Customers prepay for transmission services, providing a source of funds to cover some of the appropriations shortfalls. Projects that are proposed for pre-payment are first submitted for funding through the typical appropriated funding process.
The use of pre-payment funding is beneficial to both Western and its customers and has provided a significant, and consistent, source of construction dollars since its inception.
Projects see 2011 success, 2012 schedules
Despite appropriated funding issues in FY 2011, DSW completed several construction and RRAD projects. “DSW customers are very satisfied with our progress, particularly in the last two years since we’ve been working prepayment projects. DSW customers are able to see their money at work and that helps build our credibility as an organization and develops a relationship of trust and cooperation,” said Project Manager Chris Lyles.
With FY 2012 already in progress, all projects scheduled for execution this year are dependent on the receipt of adequate appropriated funding in a timely manner.
The 10-year Capital Program is the means for identifying, prioritizing, scheduling and funding projects that directly affect Western and its customers. It is essential to meeting Western’s mission of providing reliable power to its customers.
Learn more about DSW’s 10-year Capital Plan.
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.
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 has a long history of serving and working with customers, including on its power marketing plans. In our Upper Great Plains Region, we’ve followed our current marketing plan since 1985, providing power to firm electric service customers throughout the six-state marketing area. But with the current marketing plan set to expire in nine years, Western’s UGP office took a look at how to market long-term firm hydroelectric resources beyond 2020.
In sum, the 2021 power marketing initiative, finalized Nov. 16 and effective Dec. 16, extended the current Marketing Plan, with amendments to two key marketing plan principles:
- Lengthening contract term to 30 years. A 30-year contract term provides firm electric service customers greater resource certainty and cost control compared to the current 20-year contract term. In general, a 30-year contract term strikes a balance between customers’ need for stability in resource planning and cost control and Western’s need for flexibility.
- Providing 1-percent resource pools every 10 years. The 2021 PMI will provide for resource pools of up to one percent of the marketable resource under contract at the time for eligible new preference entities beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and again every 10 years, specifically in January 2031 and 2041. The resource pools allow Western to market allocations of firm power to eligible new preference entities, while promoting the most widespread use concept under Federal Reclamation Law.
The 2021 PMI action maintains allocations of the finite hydropower resources at existing allocation levels (reduced by up to one percent for each new resource pool in 2021, 2031 and 2041) for all firm power customers. The PMI was informally discussed with firm power customers last November, then a formal public process was initiated March 4 with the release of the proposed initiative. Western extended the comment period on the initiative to Sept. 6 in response to public comment and request. Read all of Western’s responses to comments received in the Nov. 16, 2011 Federal Register notice (pdf).
With the power marketing initiative complete, Western intends to begin developing firm electric service contracts with customers for service beyond 2020.
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.