Posts tagged: power marketing

Central Valley Project customers receive more water

The Bureau of Reclamation announced April 13 that it was going to be increasing its water supply allocation to Central Valley Project contractors as a result of improved snow pack conditions.

The revised projected deliveries are expected to increase both project use and net project generation, which means more hydropower to sell for Western’s Sierra Nevada region.

“The snow water content ranges from 81 percent of the April 1 average for the Northern Sierra to 32 percent for the Southern Sierra,” stated the press release.

Large hydro projects could apply to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

In February, the California legislature introduced Assembly Bill 1771 Renewable energy resources: hydroelectric generation, which, if enacted, would revise what size hydropower plant can contribute to an energy service provider’s renewable portfolio standard and how many megawatts can be counted.

Currently, only small hydropower plants qualify to be used as a renewable energy source under California’s 33-percent RPS requirement, and the maximum hydropower contribution is 30 megawatts. 

If enacted in its present form, the hydropower plant size and megawatt limits would be eliminated, which could increase interest in Western’s Sierra Nevada region’s Central Valley Project. The CVP’s 11 hydropower plants produced 5,369 gigawatt-hours in Fiscal Year 2011 for preference power customers in California.  

The bill is tentatively scheduled to be heard in committee March 22.

California announces below normal snowpack levels

The California Department of Water Resources announced continuing dry winter conditions in its state-wide survey Feb. 1, which could impact the available water for Western’s Central Valley Project this summer.
 
“Water content in California’s mountain snowpack is far below normal for this time of year,” stated the department’s press release.
 
Overall, the average water content of California’s snowpack was 37 percent of normal for this date. For the CVP area, the relative composition of the Sierra Nevada snowpack was 26 percent of the April 1 seasonal average for the northern Sierras, 20 percent for the central Sierras and 25 percent for the southern Sierras.
 
January is typically one of the wettest months, but with a lack of winter storms, state water managers have begun to express concerns about the need for more rain and snow.
 
“So far, we just haven’t received a decent number of winter storms,” said Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin.
 
“Because last year was such an above-normal water year, starting water storage levels for Federal and state storage reservoirs are relatively higher than normal,” said Sierra Nevada Power Marketing Manager Sonja Anderson. This will help delay any affects to the power supply even if the snowpack doesn’t reach its average levels.
 
“As long as California receives normal to near normal precipitation levels for the rest of the water year, water and hydropower output for the Central Valley and state water projects would not be as detrimentally impacted as in past years,” said Anderson.
 
However, any reductions in the output of the Reclamation CVP power plants will raise the cost of Western’s CVP power to customers, which is marketed by the percent of hydropower available.

Reclamation Extends Comment Period on Glen Canyon Dam Operations EIS

After receiving a number of requests, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Park Service decided to extend the scoping period for a new Environmental Impact Statement related to the operation of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River from Dec. 30 to Jan. 31.

During the scoping period, agencies determine what factors to consider in the EIS and gather comments from the public to identify social, economic and environmental concerns and project alternatives to evaluate.

The EIS, which is jointly led by Reclamation and the Park Service, involves adopting a Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan for the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam.

The plan, the first comprehensive review of dam operations in 15 years, will ensure that regulated flows on the Colorado River meet the goals of supplying hydroelectricity and water for communities, agriculture and industry; protecting endangered species; and lessening the impact on downstream ecosystems, including the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon.

Changes to current water flows will be evaluated as “alternatives” in the EIS.

For more information on the EIS or how to submit a comment, visit the project’s web site.

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.