The City of Boulder, Colo., asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a declaratory order on the city's stranded cost obligations to its current supplier, Xcel Energy, should the city create a municipal utility. The May 17 petition asks FERC to confirm that the city would have no stranded cost obligations for the portion of its wholesale power it may continue to acquire from Xcel Energy’s Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSCo) subsidiary. If the commission agrees, Boulder said it "would be in a clear position to manage any potential stranded cost obligation."
Boulder is seeking clarification that the commission’s ruling in City of South Daytona
would apply, even if Boulder purchases less than 100 percent of its requirements from Xcel. In its South Daytona
order, the commission ruled that South Daytona, Fla., should it form a municipal electric utility, would create no stranded costs to the extent that its existing supplier, Florida Power, continued to use its generation assets to serve South Daytona.
The South Daytona order "should apply, on a proportional basis, to a partial requirements purchase from the existing supplier as well as the full requirements purchase that was the fact situation in that case," Boulder said. "That is, to the extent that the retail-turned-wholesale customer purchases electricity from its former retail supplier, the assets necessary to generate that electricity are not stranded."
Xcel Energy has said the city would owe $255 million if it leaves Xcel’s system in 2017. According to Xcel, that would cover Boulder’s share of the debt for coal plants and other generation assets the company brought online prior to Boulder indicating its intent to purchase energy from sources other than Xcel. Currently, Colorado law does not allow communities served by investor-owned utilities like Xcel to purchase power from any other supplier.
"We believe a ruling in support of the city on this very specific legal question would be a win-win-win," said City Attorney Tom Carr. "This would chart a way for a Boulder electric utility to address its stranded cost exposure while at the same time protecting Xcel’s shareholders and protecting remaining customers of the company."
A decision to leave Xcel’s system could benefit customers throughout the region, if it is made before the company decides to invest in more generation capacity, Boulder said. "The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t have to generate," Carr said. "If Boulder customers are drawing less of their energy from Xcel, the existing supply can be reallocated to others in Colorado without ratepayers having to pay for new and expensive infrastructure. This helps everyone."
Boulder asks FERC to act on petition by July 18
Boulder asked FERC for an expedited decision on its petition—by July 18—so the city can coordinate its planning and decision making with the PSCo Electric Resource Plan proceeding currently pending before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The Boulder City Council is expected to vote Aug. 6 on whether to move forward with municipalization. The CPUC is slated to begin considering the acquisition phase of the PSCo resource planning process on Oct. 9.
Expedited resolution of the petition should enable the City Council to complete its evaluation of the feasibility of municipalization based on purchasing partial requirements power supply service from PSCo in preparation for the Aug. 6 council meeting, Boulder told FERC. An affirmative vote on municipalization by the City Council at its Aug. 6 meeting will enable the city to notify PSCo and the CPUC in advance of the CPUC’s review of PSCo’s resource acquisition plan.
Boulder said its goals are "substantially reducing the carbon emissions associated with the community’s electricity usage, and providing electricity as a service adaptable to the needs and values of the different users that make up the Boulder community. In pursuit of those goals, Boulder is exploring the creation of a municipal utility, without harming either the shareholders or the remaining customers of PSCo." One way for Boulder to achieve this result would be by purchasing from PSCo during a transition period an amount of electric capacity and associated energy that would otherwise be stranded, while purchasing its remaining requirements from generators using renewable resources, the city said. —ROBERT VARELA
Silicon Valley Power in Santa Clara, Calif., awarded its annual Energy Innovator Awards to Santa Clara University and Applied Materials, Inc. for utilizing renewable power and implementing energy efficiency measures in 2012. The Green Power Champion and Environmental Innovator Awards were announced May 3 at SVP’s 2013 Silicon Valley Energy and Sustainability Summit in Redwood City.
"Santa Clara University and Applied Materials are two of Santa Clara’s most respected institutions, and they continue to provide community leadership in the fight against climate change," said Larry Owens, SVP manager of customer services. "They set a great example for every SVP customer, all of whom have the opportunity to reduce electricity usage, implement energy efficiency measures and choose renewable sources for their power."
|Santa Clara University and Applied Materials, Inc. were awarded SVP's 2013 Energy Innovator Awards. The companies are also the two largest purchasers of Santa Clara Green Power. From left to right: Lance Mace, Applied Materials, John Roukema, Silicon Valley Power, and Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner, Santa Clara University. Photo courtesy of Silicon Valley Power
Applied Materials, Inc., a global provider of software and services for the manufacturing of advanced semiconductors, flat panel displays and solar photovoltaic products, received SVP’s Green Power Champion Award for committing to purchase 45 million kilowatt-hours annually from the utility's Green Power program.
With the program, SVP customers—residential, commercial and large industrial—can opt for 100 percent renewable energy by enrolling to have all energy used each month to be generated from wind generators and solar panel installations. The program is supplied by 80 percent western wind and 20 percent California solar, said SVP.
Participation costs an extra 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, which amounts to approximately $7.50 more per month for an average residential customer in Santa Clara who uses 500 kilowatt-hours, SVP said. Large commercial and industrial customers can purchase 1,000-kWh blocks for $15 per block.
Applied Materials’ annual 45 million kWh commitment is a more than five-fold increase over its previous commitment and brings its Santa Clara headquarters power portfolio to 100 percent green, said SVP.
Using only renewable energy helps Applied Materials avoid more than 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the utility said.
Santa Clara University, which used a combination of efficiency measures, thermal energy, solar and green power to move closer to its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by the end of 2015, received SVP’s Environmental Innovator Award.
Over four years, the university reduced its electricity consumption by more than 10 percent, despite a growing campus population and infrastructure, SVP said.
In 2012, SCU produced more than 1.5 million kWh of photovoltaic electricity and more than 41,000 therms of solar thermal power campuswide, SVP said. The university also upgraded parking and exterior lighting to LED systems and installed eight charging stations for electric vehicles.
The university also added two buildings to its campus that meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard. The LEED Gold rating is the U.S. Green Building Council’s second highest certification for buildings’ minimum environmental impact and performance efficiency. —FALLON FORBUSH
APPA is offering its members a free webinar May 28 on understanding the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed revisions to its effluent guidelines and standards for steam electric generating plants. The webinar is meant to help public power utility employees understand the proposed rule, the ways in which the proposed rule is essentially a proposal for dealing with coal ash, and how that proposed rule would affect utilities in light of air pollution control changes that might increase selenium and other metals in ash.
The webinar, which will be held from 2-4 p.m. Eastern time, is available only to APPA member utility employees and not to contractors or vendors. Speakers will include APPA staff and outside counsel and consultants. The webinar will presume a reasonable understanding of current effluent limitations and the proposed rule; background material will be sent to those who register in advance.
More information on the webinar
is available on APPA’s website.
| On May 22, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 271, the Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2013, by voice vote.
The bill, authored by Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, would make sure that electric utilities are able to comply with Department of Energy emergency orders to maintain grid reliability without facing penalties for violating potentially conflicting environmental laws. (See the May 20 Public Power Daily
.) APPA supports the legislation. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. —J.A.
Plant operations manager—
Platte River Power Authority seeks a plant operations manager to provide vision, direction and supervision to the Operations Department to ensure that the department meets its mission of providing the safest, most cost-efficient and environmentally-responsible production of power, along with maximizing unit availability and reliability. Qualifications:
The candidate must be able to successfully lead, motivate, organize and direct the assigned Operations Department supervisors and the employees in plant operations and fuel handling at the Rawhide Energy Station. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university and minimum of 10 years of progressive experience in a fossil-fired plant or other industrial facility; a minimum of five years of experience in supervision; and a comprehensive knowledge of the theory, operating practices and problems and procedures for operating equipment and systems in a coal-fired electric generating station or other industrial facility are required. Apply:
To apply, complete a Platte River employment application located on the website at www.prpa.org
under "Careers/Platte River Job Openings" and email it, along with a cover letter and resume, to email@example.com
by the end of the day Monday, May 27.
Electrical planning engineer—
The Utilities Commission, city of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., seeks an electrical planning engineer to support electric utility operations. Description:
The position is responsible for planning/executing electrical engineering requirements of the commission’s operating systems and represents UC at regulatory agencies, trade organizations and to other utilities. The position reports to the manager of the Engineering Department. Qualifications:
Experience with PSS/E and MILSOFT is required. P.E. is preferred. The candidate must have experience in analysis, design and construction/operation of transmission, distribution, substations, generation and NERC regulations and compliance. Compensation:
The salary range is $68,868.80 to $79,747.20, based on experience. Apply:
For the complete description of this position, please visit our website
Check out APPA's career services on the Web
Visit the Career Center at PublicPower.org
. Our career center allows job seekers to upload resumes, and recruiters to obtain resumes from job seekers. Classified ads in Public Power Daily and Public Power Weekly cost 70 cents per word for APPA members, and 80 cents per word for nonmembers, for a one-week run. Job posting subscriptions are available in packages of five, 10, or unlimited for a full year. The weekly deadline for placing a classified ad is every Thursday at 12 p.m. (Eastern time). If you have questions about classified ads, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
, or call 202/467-2958.
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