Public Power Announcements

Vera Water and Power Announces Two New Board Members 

Diana Wilhite
Bryan St. Clair

Spokane Valley’s Vera Water and Power (Wash.) has announced two new members of its board of directors, as well as the 2018 officers and current board members.

Vera Water and Power’s two new board members are Diana Wilhite and Bryan St. Clair. Both will be contributing a wealth of leadership and business acumen to the district.

“Diana and Bryan bring a breadth of experience, talent, and expertise to the table. We are very lucky to be able to have them with us,” said Vera Water and Power General Manager Kevin Wells. “Our board members are also customers, so having them here is a real asset because they understand our business and our community.”

Wilhite, Vera’s newest board member, is a small business owner and Vera Water and Power customer. She previously served on a public power board of directors when she was a customer of Inland Power and Light and understands how non-profit, community-owned utilities like Vera operate.

Additionally, she has considerable leadership experience in civic, political, and community organizations. She is an active community member, holding leadership positions with the Spokane Valley Fire District Civil Service Commission, the National Federation of Independent Business, Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, and Honorary Commander/Eagles of Fairchild Air Force Base. Wilhite was formerly the City of Spokane Valley mayor, deputy mayor, and council member.

St. Clair brings 35 years of experience in the water, sewer, and power business to the Vera board. Over the years, he has worked across Washington state in both surface water and well water systems. He began his career in construction in 1978, and his municipal career at the Mukilteo Water and Sewer District in 1985. His experience includes the management of a hydroelectric dam facility, working as a public works director, and working as an organizational leadership development trainer. He has been active with the American Water Works Association and the Spokane County Water Conservancy Board. He is currently the Modern Electric Water Company Water superintendent and a Vera Water and Power customer. 

The 2018 Vera Water and Power Board is comprised of Chair David Peterson, Vice Chair St. Clair, Floyd Schmedding, Wilhite, and Steve Wulf.

SMUD Research Engineer Wins EPRI Technology Transfer Award

(L-R) SMUD’s Dagoberto Calamateo receives EPRI’s Technology Transfer Award from Andrew Phillips, EPRI’s vice president of Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure.

A SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.) research engineer has been selected to receive a prestigious Technology Transfer Award from the Electric Power Research Institute for his achievements in research and development.

Presented annually, EPRI’s Technology Transfer Awards recognize industry leaders and innovators who help companies deliver safe, affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible electricity through initiative, collaboration, and leadership that transform research into results in the utility industry.

SMUD’s Dagoberto Calamateo, a research engineer from the electric utility’s Energy Strategy Research and Development Department, will receive a Technology Transfer Award. Calamateo helped implement the solar photovoltaic adoption forecasting tool and worked with EPRI to implement the tool, also known as PVAT, to generate PV adoption forecasts according to user-defined scenarios that establish the costs, benefits, and emissions profile of PV adoption. The tool started generating PV adoption forecasts in 2017 and will continue until 2026. By using the tool, a utility can make better decisions about how to deploy and manage PV on its system to ensure the highest level of reliability.

“SMUD is a community-owned electric company. Our policy is set by an elected board of directors, who has made R&D a strategic directive,” said Calamateo. “The board realizes that investing in R&D projects that support its core and key values is a major factor in SMUD’s long-term competitiveness and ability to deliver innovative products and services. I am honored to receive the award.”

“The 2017 Technology Transfer Award winners have taken EPRI R&D to new levels to shape and improve an integrated energy network,” said Arshad Mansoor, senior vice president of R&D at EPRI. “The commitment and collaboration demonstrated by these individuals and teams not only benefits their companies, but the entire industry as we all have a stake in transforming and integrating the power system.”

Congratulations to Calamateo! He will be recognized at EPRI events in early 2018.

Fall River’s Hanson Earns National Certification

(L-R) Fall River Electric Board President Doug Schmier, Fall River Electric Board Member Jay Hanson, and Fall River Electric CEO/General Manager Bryan Case.

A Fall River Electric Cooperative (Ashton, Idaho) board member and past board president, Jay Hanson, recently earned the prestigious Director Gold Credential Certification from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Obtaining this certificate requires prior achievement of both the Credentialed Cooperative Director and Board Leadership Certificate as well as additional credits earned from NRECA’s continuing education program. This is the highest level of certification NRECA offers to cooperative board members. This achievement highlights Fall River’s commitment to education and remaining informed in an industry which is experiencing significant fundamental changes.

Hanson grew up on a farm near Shelley, Idaho, where he helped raise crops and livestock. That background led him to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from the University of Idaho. His professional career included 33 years as an agricultural extension agent, not only for the University of Idaho but also the University of Wyoming. He was the first agent to ever serve two counties in two different states. He also served as president of the Idaho Association of County Agricultural Agents, interim superintendent of the Tetonia, Idaho-based ag research center, and president of the board of the Eastern Idaho Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Hanson has served on the Fall River Electric Board for over 12 years. He is also a board representative for the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation based in Virginia.

Chelan Commissioners Review PUD’s 20187 Performance

On projects ranging from Public Power Benefit safety improvements at the Plain Substation to efficiency programs that saved enough power for 700 homes to major investments at Chelan PUD’s (Wenatchee, Wash.) hydro projects, General Manager Steve Wright reported on February 5 that District staff are on track or have completed 85 percent of the 2017 performance plan.

Many of the uncompleted 2017 projects are multi-year projects, ongoing efforts, or required schedule changes into 2018 to respond to other unexpected work and competing priorities. That same day, Chelan County PUD commissioners reviewed the utility’s performance on 232 tracked actions that support its seven strategic objectives (on page 27).

PUD senior managers report on progress every three months. Monday’s year-end wrap-up focused on status changes and items completed in the last three months of 2017.

For energy efficiency, customers who took part in PUD conservation programs helped the utility meet its 2017 stretch goal for saving 2.1 average megawatts, reported Andrew Grassell, Energy Development/Conservation manager. That is enough to power more than 700 Chelan County homes. Much of those savings––about 12 million kilowatt hours––went to efficiency improvements at businesses and government buildings. In particular, two large projects with fruit company Stemilt secured reaching the goal. The savings are valued at $5.8 million over the life of the conservation measures.

Wright also noted that the 2018 performance plan has 100 more actions than last year. Many of the measures focus on projects in 2018’s capital plan, which is the District’s largest in at least the last 20 years, he has said in earlier discussions.

Pend Oreille PUD Ends Litigation with PNC

Pend Oreille County PUD (Newport, Wash.) and Ponderay Newsprint Company have agreed to end all litigation between them. The resolution of these matters allows PNC to continue its focus on producing high-quality newsprint and providing jobs to approximately 140 employees in the region. The PUD can likewise focus on its hydroelectric dam improvement project and serving its customers.

The agreement also promotes future collaboration between PNC and the PUD by providing PNC with long-term energy cost incentives, and the PUD with support for marketing its power resources to additional consumers.

“We are happy to have resolved the ligation on mutually agreeable terms and look forward to a stronger working relationship with the District,” said Myron Johnson, PNC’s general manager.

The PUD’s general manager, Colin Willenbrock, is also pleased that the litigation has concluded. “This conclusion helps keep the PUD’s largest customer operating in the county and allows the PUD to make decisions that will ensure the rest of the general service customers continue to receive power at the lowest possible cost.”

“I’m very pleased with the outcome,” said Dan Peterson, the PUD’s board president. “This is a reasonable win-win for everyone.”

Lewis County Announces Rate Increase

At the February 6 meeting of Lewis County PUD’s (Chehalis, Wash.) commissioners, the commissioners approved a rate increase effective March 1. The daily charge will not increase. The energy, or kilowatt-hour charge, will increase 4 percent across all rate classes. Factors for the rate increase include: wholesale power price increases from Bonneville Power Administration; steadily increasing compliance requirements with legislative mandates and voter-approved initiatives such as Initiative 937, the Energy Independence Act; and increases in operating costs to ensure a reliable electrical system.

AMP to Hold Town Hall on Underground Utility Districts

The city of Alameda’s program to move overhead utility lines underground is the focus of an upcoming Alameda Municipal Power (Calif.) town hall meeting. AMP, which administers the city’s undergrounding program, will host a town hall for the public on February 28 at the Alameda Main Library.

AMP is making progress in its planning to move overhead utility lines underground in certain districts. In the coming months, the technical advisory committee for the undergrounding program is planning to recommend that the Alameda City Council move utility lines under­ground in two areas.

Final decisions to identify underground utility districts have not yet been made.

Feds Loan $48 Million for 6 Oregon Solar Energy Projects

Update provided by KTVZ.COM (02/06/2018)

WASHINGTON – Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced Monday six Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) loans amounting to $48.2 million will help bring solar energy production to rural towns in Klamath, Lake, Deschutes and Clackamas counties, where solar facilities will produce enough electricity to power 11,289 Oregon homes and businesses.

“With this investment, clean, renewable, affordable energy will power rural communities across our state,” Merkley said. “I am thrilled to help improve the futures of rural Oregon and our entire country with this major investment in solar energy. I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to fight for support of clean and renewable energy—especially in these rural areas, with the power of the sun just waiting to be converted into affordable electricity. The more we make these investments, the better our chances in the fight against climate disruption.”

“The benefits of providing clean energy options for families and businesses in rural Oregon are as clear as a sunny day,” Wyden said. “These investments in solar energy production help to keep down electricity costs for our state’s rural residents, help the bottom line for small business and mark a vital step forward to combat climate change.” 

REAP’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants provides loan financing or grant funding for energy improvement projects in rural areas. The electricity generated at these Southern and Central Oregon facilities and in Clackamas County will be sold to a local utility provider to supply residences and businesses with renewable energy.

Click here to read the full article.

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