Interested in transmission services in the West?

On behalf of TransWest Express Transmission Project — a new transmission path from south-central Wyoming to southern Nevada — Western is seeking interest from any entity or entities interested in long-term firm transmission service to deliver generation over the new line.

The TWE Project is proposed as a 725-mile, 3,000 megawatt, 600-kilovolt, direct-current transmission system with terminals in Wyoming and Nevada. Western anticipates it will be able to make about 250 megawatts of transmission capacity available from Carbon County, Wyo., to the Clark County, Nev.

Western published a Request for Statements of Interest in the Oct. 18 Federal Register seeking responses from entities interested in transmission service. Responses to the SOI are due no later than 4 p.m., MST, Dec. 2, 2010.

For further information, contact:
Stacey Harris
Public Utilities Specialist
Transmission Infrastructure Program
Western Area Power Administration
P.O. Box 281213
Lakewood, CO 80228-8213
or e-mail

Learn about energy with hands-on training

What happens when a blackout darkens the city skyline, like the one that turned the lights off on 50 million people in the northeastern U.S, Aug. 14, 2003? How does the electrical system get put back together?

It takes electric utility industry workers with different specialties to keep the power flowing…and get it back on when cities and homes go dark. Western’s dispatchers operate the power system 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure something happens when a carpenter in Aberdeen, S.D., plugs in his circular saw, or when an account executive in Mesa, Ariz., turns on her coffee pot. Our line crews work under the summer sun in the Sonoran Desert and in the subzero winter on the North Dakota plains.

Mad training skills

Our employees have amazing skill and talent. Some of these skills forged on the job and some of them gained in the classroom, like the courses provided by Western’s Electric Power Training Center. The EPTC teaches the principles and operation of power transmission and generation equipment to dispatchers, linemen, electricians, powerplant operators and others in the electric power industry. Using a mixture of classroom presentations and hands-on training in its miniature power system, EPTC instructors can help employees and managers better understand the technical skills it takes to run the bulk electric system, as well as help prepare others in the technical field for NERC certification.

All of these courses focus on supporting the continuing training needs of our employees as well as others working in the electric power industry. From a basic overview o the Electric Power System to detailed understanding of real-time operations and reliability readiness, the EPTC provides utility industry knowledge for individuals at all levels—entry to expert.

For more information about upcoming classes or how to get registered for a class, visit EPTC’s website.

Video game systems: Energy vampires?

Since October is Energy Awareness Month, we wanted to share the latest research on video game energy consumption. Energy Services Representative Paula Fronk, at the Colorado River Storage Project Management Center, and her son Brady undertook the investigation of a common household energy consumer—the video game system.

With more than 40 percent of all homes in the United State owning video game consoles, the Natural Resource Defense Council estimates that these consoles consume about 16 billion kilowatt-hours each year—roughly, the electricity annually used by the city of San Diego. These deceptively small but greedy energy thieves are driving up electric bills, particularly in homes with multiple game systems or gamers.

The Fronk family found evidence that some systems use significantly more energy than others. Even so, the total energy consumption over a year is minor until you factor in the monitor’s energy use. Also, leaving the game in “idle” mode for hours on end to save a gaming session or downloading content consumes almost as much power as active play. If there is more than one gamer in the house, the electricity use—and dollars—can really add up.

I’ve seen our electric bill,” admitted Brady as he became more aware of the different aspects of energy use. “Playing isn’t the only way gaming uses electricity. When you download a game over the Internet, it can take hours, and the computer or system has to be on the whole time. Imagine thousands of people downloading those games. The energy use is amazing.”

To see the console energy use results and hear more about this topic, see the Energy Services Bulletin’s August 2010 issue. The ESB monthly provides energy related articles.

You can also download the pdf “Video Games: Energy Heist?” fact sheet, from Energy Services’ site.