Government connecting with small businesses

Last year, the Department of Energy spent over $25 billion in contracts, and Western’s share of that was more than $80 million in appropriated funds.

This can lead small contractors and vendors to wonder how they can land those Federal contracts that agencies post. Here at Western, we work with the regional Small Business Administration to educate small businesses about the Federal contracting process and how to get involved.

As part of Western’s program, staff hosted a Business Outreach Session at its Corporate Services Office in Lakewood, Colo., Jan. 26. It gave interested businesses an opportunity to connect with Federal acquisition and program managers. This free event provided breakout sessions and networking opportunities.

Yet, if you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry. You can always catch an upcoming DOE small business event or get some free marketing tips from Western’s Small Business Program.

Upcoming events?

If you’re looking for another opportunity to connect with the Department of Energy, check out the upcoming 12th Annual DOE Small Business Conference & Expo, in Kansas City,May 10 to 12, 2011. The event will feature educational workshops, an Exhibit Hall with more than 200 exhibitors/sponsors, as well as business matchmaking sessions.

Western is extending public scoping comment deadline for wind projects

Wind mills in a fieldWestern is extending the deadline for scoping comments for the proposed Hyde County Wind Energy Center and Crowned Ridge Wind Energy Center projects from Jan. 14, 2011 to midnight Jan. 31, 2011.

Western published separate Federal Register Notices of Intent to prepare Environmental Impact Statements for the Hyde County Wind Energy Center Project and the Crowned Ridge Wind Energy Center Project in November 2010. Both Notices of Intent specified a 45-day public scoping period, which would end on Jan. 14, 2011. Western received a request for an extension of the public scoping period deadline to Jan. 30, 2010, due to the holidays. Western is granting that request.

The public is invited to submit comments on either proposed project at any time during the EIS process.

For more information about the extension, see the Jan. 18 Federal Register Notice.

TransWest Express Project to hold public meetings

Western is considering a partnership on a TransWest Express project in which Western would provide the funding through Section 402 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The TWE project consists of about 725 to 800 miles of 600-kV direct current overhead transmission line to deliver renewable energy from Wyoming to the Desert Southwest Region. The TWE project starts near Rawlins, Wyo., through Nephi, Utah, and on to the Las Vegas, Nev., area. Western and the Bureau of Land Management published a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal Register on Jan. 4, initiating a 90-day public scoping period. The BLM and Western expect to hold 22 open-house meetings at various locations in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada during the public scoping period.

BLM staff, Western staff and project proponents will be available at the public meetings to explain project details and gather information from interested individuals or groups. The exact dates, times and locations for these meetings will be announced at least 15 days before the event through local media, newspapers, newsletters and posting on the Western and BLM websites. The first round of meetings are listed on BLM’s TWE Scoping meeting schedule page.

Make energy-saving resolutions

Make energy-saving resolutions

January 1 has come and gone but it’s not too late to start a New Year resolution to conserve energy. And while you’re at it, why not add a second resolution…save money! If you’re serious about these resolutions, commit to one or more of the energy-saving tips below in 2011:

• Kill phantom energy loads by unplugging appliances when you’re not using them.
• Keep your hot water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and install a hot water heater insulating blanket. These two tips can save up to 15 percent in energy costs.
• Confirm that your programmable thermostat is set to the optimal settings. Turning back the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees when you’re not at home can save you around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.
• Check for air leaks in and around your home then apply caulking and weather stripping where needed.
• Purchase energy-efficient products, operate them efficiently, and incorporate more daylight into your home using energy-efficient windows and skylights.
• Analyze your energy bills. One of the best ways to truly understand how your home consumes energy is carefully reviewing your monthly utility bills.
• Only use rechargeable batteries. Aim to make your batteries rechargeable, a far cheaper option than constantly replacing them.

You can find more “easy-to-stick-to” energy-saving tips on the Energy Service website for utility customers or DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site for individuals.

What energy saving habits do you plan to start this year?