NCPA Hires Regina Rieger
Regina Rieger has joined the Northern California Power Agency Legislative and Regulatory team and will be managing its federal power program policy issues. Where Jerry Toenyes and Maury Kruth both represented NCPA on these issues on a consulting basis, Rieger will now be managing this portfolio as a full-time NCPA employee. (Kruth has retired and Toenyes continues to consult on a limited basis.)
Rieger brings almost 20 years of professional experience with the federal power program to this position, and has worked at both the Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Department of Interior. She most recently served as the rates manager for the Sierra Nevada Region of the Western Area Power Administration, where she worked directly on a number of initiatives of critical importance to CVP power customers.
“Regina has in-depth knowledge of the program and the current issues we are grappling with, and will be a great addition to our federal power customer team,” said NCPA Assistant General Manager, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Jane Cirrincione.
Ellensburg Receives Smart Vision Award
Representing Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Scott Kuhta of the Washington State Department of Commerce presented the City of Ellensburg with the 2018 Governor’s Smart Communities Award/Smart Vision category for work performed on the housing element of the 2017 Ellensburg Comprehensive Plan.
The announcement of the award said, “Using an innovative Heart & Soul® process for community planning, the city reached unheard voices and encouraged participation from residents who don’t normally participate. In addition, the assessment process findings identified a need for a future affordable housing commission, and as a result, Ellensburg became the first city in the state of Washington to pass a sales tax increase for affordable housing and related services. Ellensburg’s model has scalability and can be implemented in other cities.”
Chelan PUD Commissioners Extend Cryptocurrency Moratorium
On August 6, Chelan County PUD (Wenatchee, Wash.) commissioners listened to comments from 14 people on a proposed rate for cryptocurrency operations that reflects the cost of buying variable-priced market power to serve miners and assures cost recovery for any new infrastructure investments.
The comments on August 6 came at the second hearing held on the moratorium adopted March 19 for cryptocurrency service applications.
Following Monday’s hearing, PUD commissioners extended the moratorium until August 20 to allow time for staff and board members to consider what they heard. Board members will continue discussion of the proposed rate at 1 p.m. at the next board meeting.
Commissioners endorsed a continued cautious approach to setting the new rate. Board Vice President Garry Arsenault thanked those who spoke and asked for understanding of the commission’s responsibility to balance risks from the new load to existing customer-owners and to “safeguard the county’s precious jewel, our hydropower.”
Protecting existing PUD customers while giving the new technology a chance to be successful in Chelan County is the goal of the new rate, said Lindsey Mohns, Customer Utilities business adviser.
General Manager Steve Wright said he hoped the smaller crowd (about 30 people) than at the May 14 hearing reflected progress in increasing community comfort that the impact of serving bitcoin mining and similar operations will be neutral to positive for existing customers. “We’re trying to turn lemons into lemonade through right-sizing our pricing and the amount of service we offer.”
Most speakers said they were cryptocurrency operators. Small miners questioned the impact of a variable, market-based price for power on their operations. One of the larger operators expressed support for the policy, but asked commissioners for consideration for those who have played by the rules so far.
Three people questioned using the PUD’s renewable hydropower for such an energy-intense industry.
This proposal seeks to be consistent with the District’s policy to provide the best value for the most people for the longest period of time.
Studies since the first moratorium hearing in May have shown there is transmission system capacity to serve some cryptocurrency load growth, but costs will significantly increase once that capacity is allocated, Mohns said.
Chelan PUD now serves 22 authorized cryptocurrency and similar data operations, a combined load of up to 16 megawatts. Before the moratorium, requests had come in that could have more than doubled the District’s retail load of 180-200 megawatts.
Information on Chelan PUD’s continuing response to cryptocurrency mining issues is on the website at chelanpud.org/cryptocurrency.
OTEC Announces Energy Efficiency Classes
These days, the buzz is all about energy efficiency and Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (Baker City, Ore.) is committed to helping its member-owners improve the energy consumption in their home.
With that goal in mind, the Baker City-based utility is hosting a series of classes — Energy 101: How to save money by saving energy — in each of the cooperative’s district offices.
“As your energy resource, we are proud to offer these classes for our members,” said Susie Snyder, OTEC supervisor of energy programs. “We really want to help our members to save energy and money with these classes.”
The approximately hour-long classes, which are free of charge, are designed to help members learn about what is using electricity inefficiently in their home and what programs the cooperative offers that are available to members. The classroom setting is a good opportunity for members to learn about general conservation, but also provides members a chance to ask specific questions about their unique situations.
The classes kick off at 1:30 p.m. on August 23 at the Baker City office.
“RSVPs are encouraged, but not required,” Snyder said. “Space is limited at each of our offices. Come join us and let us put our energy to work for you.”
SMUD’s Future Leaders Fundraising to Build Boys & Girls Club Ball Field
Members of SMUD’s most recent Building Leadership Talent team chose the ambitious and rewarding project of raising funds to build a baseball field for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento. To raise enough money to build the “Field of Dreams,” BLT members have set up a donation website and have teamed up with the Sacramento River Cats with the aim of selling 750 tickets for the Club Partnership Night game on August 25 against the Las Vegas 51s at Raley Field. To purchase tickets, go to SMUD.org/BLT9. You can also make a donation without buying tickets for the game at the website, just be sure to mention “Field of Dreams” or “BLT” in the comments section.
The SMUD BLT team envisions that the new baseball field will help the club with their goal to provide a place where kids can feel safe, connect with others, and build the skills and confidence they need to achieve their goals. Slated for the Lemon Hill neighborhood in South Sacramento—an area identified by the California Endowment as one of the 14 areas of greatest need in the state—the field will help the Boys & Girls Club continue to offer a wide variety of activities in an underserved community. The design includes drainage, landscaping, base paths, and a backstop.
“We are so very grateful for the SMUD BLT team for all of their hard work to bring this amazing opportunity to our young people who deserve a safe and beautiful space to be active, healthy and further develop their talents,” said Kimberly Key, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento CEO. “Many of our members were not participating in organized sports because of the expense, so we developed our free intermural Great Futures Sports League to include basketball, soccer, and now baseball! Our kids will be so proud to have a field to call their own and share with the community around them,” said Key.
“Boys & Girls Club taught me how to interact with others and how to work toward a common goal through sports and other activities,” said Steven On, a BLT team member who grew up spending his afternoons at this very Boys & Girls Club. “BGC depends on the community and volunteers to make it successful, and I’m very excited to help other kids have the same positive experiences I did.”
Since 2007, SMUD’s Building Leadership Talent program has brought together a cross-section of SMUD employees each year to help them develop the skills necessary to take on leadership roles at SMUD and in their communities. This comprehensive 12-month program consists of hands-on classroom, experiential and online training, personalized career assessments, peer coaching and mentoring, and the creation and implementation of a community-benefit project.
For more information about SMUD and its community work, visit SMUD.org.
Gov. Inslee Leads the Charge – Launches First of Six New Electric Vehicle Fast-charging stations
A partnership that brought together the governor’s office, a public power utility, an electric vehicle charging company, a car museum, and a regional EV organization led to a celebration on August 6: the first of six new EV fast-charging sites in Washington for travelers along the Interstate 5 corridor in Washington state.
With support from a Washington State Department of Transportation grant, private capital from EVgo, and other funding sources, two new EVgo DC fast chargers at LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma will support the infrastructure needs of Washington’s electric vehicle owners, and enable more Washington residents to make the switch to electric vehicles.
“We want to electrify every mode of transportation in the state and these new charging stations help us get closer to that goal,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Currently, we have 33,000 EVs on the road and my Results Washington goal is to increase that number to 50,000 EVs by 2020. This project is a great example of what we can do when different groups collaborate.”
The new EV fast chargers at LeMay – America’s Car Museum are funded in part through Washington’s 2017-2019 Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Partnerships Program. The state funding is contributed by EV drivers through a portion of their annual $150 EV registration fee, which WSDOT leverages to encourage private sector investment in EV charging. The first round of funding includes $1 million from the state and $1.5 million in matching funds for a total of 15 new sites including the 6 along I-5 in Western Washington and 9 along highway corridors in Eastern Washington.
Tacoma Power wants to see more electrification vehicles on the road for environmental reasons – lower carbon emissions and reliance on fuel that is clean and renewable.
“Reducing vehicle emissions is one of the best ways to minimize the impacts of climate change,” said Tacoma Public Utility Board Member Bryan Flint. “Tacoma Power can play a critical role in increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road by supporting easily accessible charging stations and continuing to supply low-cost, renewable, carbon-free hydroelectricity to power the vehicles. I am pleased the first of these fast charger sites will be in Tacoma, and I thank America’s Car Museum for making this ideal location available.”
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