Transmission workshop creates networks, possibilities

Meeting Transmission Challenges in the Rocky Mountain Region, a workshop held June 21 in Fort Collins, Colo., proved that “if you plan it, they will come.”
Western brought together transmission customers, tribes, developers, state and Federal agencies and utilities to discuss Western’s transmission planning and services and to discuss transmission challenges in the region.
“There is need for transmission to support new generation across Western’s 15-state service territory,” said RM Contracts and Energy Services Specialist and workshop host Bob Langenberger. “But there are regulations, competing state needs and the question of where generation is built and the transmission to get it to market.”

With several organizations and different interests represented, the workshop pointed out the common desire to develop interconnections to the transmission system. “It’s important to come together, identify all those interests and find good investment solutions that best meet those desires, while maintaining the power grid’s reliability,” said Desert Southwest’s Transmission Services Manager Ron Moulton.

Moulton recognized how important this meeting was for Western and its customers. He explained, “There’s a considerable amount of energy needs in Western’s service territory. It’s important for us to understand customer needs and concerns to meet those needs in an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way.”

Read the full story at Energy Services Bulletin.

Western implements intra-hour transmission scheduling

On July 12, Western switched its transmission scheduling from every hour to every half hour.

The change to intra-hour scheduling is expected to increase the grid and markets ability to respond to supply and demand fluctuations, particularly with the influx of variable energy resources like wind and solar power. It will also allow for more flexible and efficient use of available transmission.

“The initiative provides renewable generators the ability to have their actual [generation] closer to the schedule, reducing their exposure to imbalance penalties,” said Mike McElhany, a member in the Transmission Business Unit in the Desert Southwest region. “It helps level the playing field and provides more flexibility to integrate renewable energy.”

Shortening the timeframe permits increased integration of those variable resources when they’re available and the ability to quickly ramp up alternate sources when they’re not, without unduly penalizing renewable generators.

“It helps limit additional costs faced by the renewable producer when their actual generation and scheduled generation do not align, reducing the cost of integrating renewable generation,” said Ron Moulton, Transmission Services Manager for DSW and Rocky Mountain region.

Free webinar offered to tribes for guidance on RFPs

Join Western and the Department of Energy’s Tribal Energy Program for a FREE webinar, Aug. 17, 2011, on Challenges and Opportunities with Tribal Renewable Energy Development from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mountain Time.

Utilities in Western’s 15-state territory need renewable energy and renewable energy certificates to meet goals and mandates. Native American tribes have abundant renewable resources on tribal lands, and jobs and economic development would come from building generation projects. This webinar is for tribes who are interested in responding to renewable Requests for Proposals from utilities, or who simply want to learn more about the competitive power market. 

There are many challenges that beset renewable project development—from transmission interconnection and availability to conditions that are unique to each tribe. Speakers from utilities, government agencies and developers will offer their perspectives on how tribes can navigate the obstacles to create winning partnerships that result in successful tribal renewable projects. Expect frank discussions on what utilities expect in a tribal proposal to a renewable RFP, along with examples of success. See the full agenda.

Register online, or contact Guy Nelson at 541-994-4670 or 541-921-1127 for more information. Space is still available so register NOW!

Western extends comment period for 2021 Power Marketing Initiative

Western’s Upper Great Plains Region published the proposed 2021 Power Marketing Initiative in the Federal Register notice on March 4, 2011. Western received a comment requesting additional time to submit comments on the proposed 2021 PMI and re-opened the written comment period for the proposed 2021 PMI until Sept. 6, 2011.

Western’s firm electric service contracts associated with the current marketing plan will expire Dec. 31, 2011. This proposed 2021 PMI provides the basis for marketing the long-term firm hydroelectric resources of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program—Eastern Division beyond 2020.

Entities interested in commenting on the proposed 2021 PMI must submit written comments to:

Robert J. Harris, Regional Manager
Upper Great Plains Region
Western Area Power Administration
2900 4th Avenue North
Billings, MT 59101–1266

Western must receive written comments by 4 p.m., MDT, on Sept. 6. Comments may also be faxed to 406-255–2900 or e-mailed to

Western will prepare and publish the final 2021 PMI in the Federal Register after all public comments on the proposed 2021 PMI are considered.

Learn more about the rate process in the Federal Register notice (pdf).