Utility partners with high schools for science education

Wheatland Rural Electric Association took advantage of Western’s Equipment Loan Program to help science classes at Wheatland, Chugwater and Glendo high schools in Platte County, Colo.

The program offers Western customers technical equipment through loan agreements. Educational displays are among the most requested items in the program. Utilities set them up at customer meetings, classrooms and community events to open up conversations with their ratepayers.

Wheatland REA Member Services Manager Al Teel was enthusiastic about the capability and usefulness of weather stations, which measure wind speed, solar index, ultraviolet levels, precipitation, soil temperature and moisture content.

For residents in a largely agricultural economy, that information is relevant to their daily lives, Teel observed. “It’s more than a science project—students will be collecting data that has real value to the three communities,” he said.

To learn what students measured and how the information will be used, read the full story.

Blue Mesa Dam drilling through Oct. 2

Bureau of Reclamation drilling crews began working on the crest of Blue Mesa Dam, Sept. 12, continuing through about Oct. 2. Workers will drill three sample holes and install equipment in one of the holes to monitor dam activity.

The information gleaned from the core samples and equipment will be used by Reclamation for consideration of short and long-term performance of the dam related to dam safety and security measures.

Blue Mesa Dam is the first of three dams, including Morrow Point and Crystal Dams, which create the Wayne N. Aspinall Unit of the Colorado River Storage Project from which Western markets hydropower. The drilling will not impact hydropower generation.

Linemen de-energize line for safety of Corps construction, part of American River Common Features project

Western’s linemen keep the agencies transmission lines and structures maintained so the system can reliably deliver electricity to cities and towns throughout the West. Sometimes this job requires Western to de-energize a line for maintenance of the line or working going on below the transmission line.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Todd Plain snapped this photo of Western linemen de-energizing the high-voltage power line at dusk for the safety of the workers below. Construction crews worked during the night constructing the seepage cutoff wall (part of the American River levees) underneath the line. This is part of the Corps American River Common Features project, a joint flood risk reduction effort between the Corps, the state’s Central Valley Flood Protection Board/Department of Water Resources and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency.

Workers from Western Area Power Administration de-energize high power lines

(Photo belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Sacramento District. Full picture description available on the USACE-Sacramento District’s Flickr photostream.)

Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman stops by Western

Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman talks with Western employeesIn a spontaneous visit to Colorado Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman made a quick stop by Western’s Corporate Services Office in Lakewood, Sept. 14, sandwiched between two other meetings in the area.

Opening with “I’m not really hear to talk; I’m here to answer any questions you have on your mind,” Poneman said in his video conference with several hundred Western employees. Read more »

NaturEner holds ceremony for Rim Rock wind farm in Montana

Rim Rock wind turbine

Rim Rock wind turbine owned and operated by NaturEner (Photo provided by NaturEner website)

Hundreds of people attended NaturEner’s opening ceremony Sept. 14 for the Rim Rock wind farm just north of Cut Bank, Mont., to celebrate overcoming the considerable challenges in making the wind farm a reality.

“There was a time last summer when we were doubtful we were going to be able to pull this off,” said Greg Copeland, Development Director of the U.S. division of the Spanish-owned NaturEner. Read more »