Posts tagged: upper great plains region

Employees volunteer, cheer for students, science

When you work in an administrative capacity or for a support function at Western, you can feel quite removed from the technical side of the business, quite removed from Energy, quite removed from Science. At least, that’s how I sometimes feel working in Public Affairs.

Members of the winning Helena A Team, Katie Chamberlain, Thomas Culver, Mark Sargent and Joe Whitney, ponder a question on their way to winning the Big Sky Regional Science Bowl Feb. 2, 2013.

But every year, Western employees, regardless of their position have a chance to get just a little bit closer to the science of it all, through volunteering at one of six regional Science Bowls, hosted by Western’s regional offices.

Employees from across Western’s service territory volunteer as judges, timers, runners and announcers. In an enthusiatic email to employees at our Corporate Services Office, Colorado River Storage Project Management Center Manager Lynn Jeka shared, “I have served as a volunteer scorekeeper for the Southern Colorado area [Department of Energy] High School Science Bowl…since joining DOE in 1996. It never ceases to amaze me how extremely bright and talented these high school students are.”

She went on to encourage other employees to volunteer and joked about how intimidating the rapid-fire science and math questions could be.

On Feb. 2 Helena High School took first place for the third year in a row, beating 27 other teams, at the Big Sky Regional Science Bowl in Montana while Ridgeview Classicals Schools Team 1 from Fort Collins, Colo., won the Rocky Mountain Science Bowl, beating 22 teams from Colorado and Nebraska. Both winners will advance to the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C., April 25-29.

Western will sponsor two more regional science bowls in February and two more in March. Stay tuned to read about the winners.

How well do you think you’d fare answering questions about biology, chemistry, earth science, space science, math and physics?

Pick-Sloan finalized 2021 Power Marketing Initiative

Western has a long history of serving and working with customers, including on its power marketing plans. In our Upper Great Plains Region, we’ve followed our current marketing plan since 1985, providing power to firm electric service customers throughout the six-state marketing area. But with the current marketing plan set to expire in nine years, Western’s UGP office took a look at how to market long-term firm hydroelectric resources beyond 2020.

In sum, the 2021 power marketing initiative, finalized Nov. 16 and effective Dec. 16, extended the current Marketing Plan, with amendments to two key marketing plan principles:

  1. Lengthening contract term to 30 years. A 30-year contract term provides firm electric service customers greater resource certainty and cost control compared to the current 20-year contract term. In general, a 30-year contract term strikes a balance between customers’ need for stability in resource planning and cost control and Western’s need for flexibility.
  2. Providing 1-percent resource pools every 10 years. The 2021 PMI will provide for resource pools of up to one percent of the marketable resource under contract at the time for eligible new preference entities beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and again every 10 years, specifically in January 2031 and 2041. The resource pools allow Western to market allocations of firm power to eligible new preference entities, while promoting the most widespread use concept under Federal Reclamation Law.

The 2021 PMI action maintains allocations of the finite hydropower resources at existing allocation levels (reduced by up to one percent for each new resource pool in 2021, 2031 and 2041) for all firm power customers. The PMI was informally discussed with firm power customers last November, then a formal public process was initiated March 4 with the release of the proposed initiative. Western extended the comment period on the initiative to Sept. 6 in response to public comment and request. Read all of Western’s responses to comments received in the Nov. 16, 2011 Federal Register notice (pdf).

What’s next?
 With the power marketing initiative complete, Western intends to begin developing firm electric service contracts with customers for service beyond 2020.