Two Texas wind energy leaders win 2011 Public Power Award

(Note: Submitted to DOE’s blog by Western’s Renewable Energy Program Manager Randy Manion.)

With their successful and creative use of wind power, Texas’ CPS Energy and Denton Municipal Electric beat out 15 other nominees to win the 2011 Public Power Award on June 21, reported the Department of Energy’s blog.

The winners

The two energy providers won for their outstanding contributions in the industry, specifically:

CPS Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, provides 10 percent of its total energy through its voluntary Windtricity program—and expects to increase this to 20 percent by 2020.

Denton Municipal Electric of Denton, Texas, purchased enough wind power—539,000 MWh—from the Wolf Ridge Wind Farm last fiscal year to power about 49,450 homes. In just one year, Denton’s purchase has reduced air pollution by preventing the release of 424,128 tons of carbon dioxide, 206 tons of nitrogen oxide and 1,257 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions.

The annual Public Power Award, sponsored by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative and the American Public Power Association, recognizes public power utility companies at the forefront of developing America’s vast wind resources and providing affordable electricity to customers. The program is managed by Western’s Renewable Energy Program.

Purchasing credits to support renewable energy goals

Federal agencies continue to strive toward generating 80 percent of their electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Supporting this effort are the sale and purchase transactions of Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs.

Currently, Western’s Upper Great Plains Region is looking to purchase RECs, also known as “green tags,” for several Federal agencies through two different requests for proposals, including:

  • A joint request for 315,000 megawatt-hours of RECs over six years for DOE’s Richland Operations and Berkeley Site offices, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Program. Bids due by July 1.
  • A request for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide 3,000 MWhs of RECs per year to its Golden Field Office Research Support facility and 629 MWhs of RECs per year to replace solar energy NREL sold to Xcel Energy. Bids due by July 8.

All offers must be for firm, fixed, per-MWh unit prices for each year of the contract term. Once bids have been received, Upper Great Plains will select proposals based on best value.

For more information about the request for proposals, visit Upper Great Plains Power Marketing for RECs website.

Boulder Canyon Project remarketing comment period extended

After receiving feedback from customers and Congress, Western extended the comment period for certain proposals related to the Boulder Canyon Project Post-2017 remarketing effort to Sept. 1. The extension also postponed applying BCP’s Power Marketing Initiative and implementing 30-year contracts until Dec. 31.

“This extension provides additional time for on-going legislative activities, as well as additional opportunity for interested parties, including Native American Tribes, to consult with Western and comment on the proposals,” said Darrick Moe, Western’s Desert Southwest regional manager, at the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing on S. 201, S. 333, S. 334, S. 419, S. 499, S. 519 and S. 808 May 19.

Western published the Application of the Energy Planning and Management Program Power Marketing Initiative to the Boulder Canyon Project notice in the Federal Register May 24, 2011, announcing the change and scheduling additional forums for feedback.

The FRN proposes Western be responsible for remarketing the firm power from Hoover Dam as an internal administrative process.

“This has the advantage of engaging in far more detailed discussions and negotiations than can be addressed by Congress, but with the drawback of unaccountability to taxpayers and ratepayers, potential lawsuits and re-igniting conflicts between the affected states,” said Congressman Tom McClintock, House Water and Power Subcommittee chairman, at the House Subcommittee on Water and Power Oversight Hearing on “Protecting Federal Hydropower Investments in the West: A Stakeholders Perspective” May 4.

Congress looks to amend Hoover Act

In the meantime, bills under debate in the House and Senate propose amending the Hoover Power Plant Act of 1984 to allocate dam power past 2017.

The bills would allocate power at cost-based rates for the project customers, with five percent set aside for new customers. It also proposes 50-year contracts to match up with the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program, a 50-year non-Federal/Federal partnership designed to balance use of the water resource and compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

The legislation mostly matches Western’s FRN with a few notable exceptions, including: 

  • Different authority for remarketing
  • 50-year contracts
  • Omitting setting aside 30 megawatts for use as reserve if Western needs to balance power across its Desert Southwest projects

If passed, the law would eliminate the need for Western’s action under the FRN.

Free transmission workshop

Western Area Power Administration invites its customers, electric utilities, tribes, generation and transmission developers, State and Federal agencies to attend a FREE workshop about meeting the transmission challenges in the Rocky Mountain region.  

The workshop includes an overview of Western’s RM transmission planning and services and an opportunity for open discussion on overcoming transmission challenges in the region.  

You must register by June 17, 2011.

More information and the agenda is available on Western’s Rocky Mountain Region’s website

Desert Southwest proposes energy credit program for customers

Western’s Desert Southwest Region is seeking comments on its proposed program to make Federal renewable energy credits, or RECs, available to its customers.

DSW released details about the proposed program in a letter delivered to customers and through a new DSW REC website.

States across Western’s service territory are implementing Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements for “green” energy products.  While many of Western’s customers are not yet affected, such requirements continue to evolve and expand to affect more entities.  Federal agencies are already affected by the Federal RPS.  Greenhouse gas requirements are also becoming hot topics in legislatures across the country.

What are RECs?
RECs represent the environmental benefits of renewable energy, sold separately from power generation. This request on behalf of Federal agencies will help meet the government’s renewable energy goals.

Learn more about the proposed program, provide comments and find valuable links at the DSW REC website.