Free webinar explains transmission policy

Feb. 29, 2012
Webinar 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m MST

Learn how transmission policy is established and enforced, and the impact policy has on transmission resources at a free webinar, Unwinding Transmission Policies, Feb. 29 at 11:00 am to 12:30 pm MST. 

This webinar is the fourth in a series presented by the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, DOE Tribal Energy Program and Western. The series will continue through September 2012 and cover topics such as tribal renewable project opportunities, transmission policy, vision of tomorrow’s transmission grid, National Energy Regulatory Commission (NERC) compliance and requesting transmission service. 

Space is limited, so register today. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Energy self-sufficiency the topic of tribal webinar series

Join Western, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, DOE’s Tribal Energy Program for a free webinar, Overview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Program, Jan. 25, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM MST.

 This event is part of an ongoing series of webinars to promote tribal energy sufficiency and foster economic development and employment on tribal lands through renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies. The webinars will:

  • Discuss methods for tribes to evaluate and develop their renewable energy resources,
  • Help them build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects,
  • Outline a process of strategic energy planning for tribes interested in improving their energy security, sovereignty and local economy,
  • Provide renewable energy and energy-efficiency information for tribal decision makers, and
  • Offer ways for tribes and utilities to partner in renewable energy and energy-efficiency development.

The webinar series began in August 2011 and will continue through September 2012.  Future topics include:

Feb. 29 – Unwinding Transmission Policies
Learn what transmission policy is, how it is established and who enforces it. Discussions will cover today’s policy issues, such as Order 1000 (Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation), and their potential impact on transmission resources. Register now.

March 28 – Understanding the Interconnection and Transmission Service Queues
Western Area Power Administration has more than 16,000 megawatts of proposed renewable resources in its collective Large Generator Interconnection Queues, representing more than 79 requests. Learn about the procedure for interconnection, how to request transmission service and what tribes can do to gain access to the transmission system. Register now.

May 30 – Today’s Energy Supply – Yesterday’s Grid
Join an informative discussion on how utilities’ generation portfolios are changing—often faster than the grid infrastructure that supports it. Learn how grid operators are integrating new generation and demand (load) response technologies into a system that was not designed for these tasks. Presentations will include transmission studies from the Western Grid Group and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Register now.

July 25 – Grid Reliability – Impacts to Tribal Renewable Projects
In 2008, NERC Reliability Standards Compliance became mandatory, with fines for non-compliance. This has raised the importance of compliance programs throughout the electric industry. This webinar provides an overview of the purpose and organization of a compliance program, and how tribal renewable projects can be impacted by reliability requirements. Register now.

Sept. 26 – DOE Office of Indian Energy’s START Program Status Updates
Get your update on the DOE Office of Indian Energy’s Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) and the range of projects that were selected in 2012. START and Alaska START aim to advance clean energy generation in Indian Country by providing Native American tribes and Alaska Native governments with strategic technical assistance. Register now.

Presentations from past webinars are available from the Public Renewables Partnership and will be updated with each webinar.

The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports commercial and institutional energy users’ procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.

Register now for tribal transmission and clean energy forum

Feb. 7-8, 2012
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel
Denver, Colo.

The Department of Energy’s Office of  Indian Energy Policy and Programs and the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability are sponsoring the second Tribal Leader Forum, Exploring the Business Link Opportunity: Transmission & Clean Energy Development in the West.  This  two-day forum is designed for tribal leaders to  meet with other tribal leaders, energy industry executives and Federal officials to promote education and information sharing about transmission and clean energy development in Indian Country.

The basics of transmission will be featured on the first day to provide context to transmission regulation, development, interconnection and service and financing issues to be discussed throughout the event.  Attendees will also learn the latest on Federal and regional transmission developments and planning activities in the West and explore recent trends in financing clean energy projects. The event will also provide tribal leaders and executives with the opportunity to directly discuss best practices in tribal project partnerships and investments. 

The agenda covers such topics as transmission project updates, project financing, new technologies and tribal case studies. The speakers represent tribes, industry groups, private developers, utilities and state and Federal agencies. Western Administrator Tim Meeks will lead a discussion on Federal projects to expand transmission in the West.

Transmission and Clean Energy Development is the second in a series of events the Office of Indian Energy is planning. The Southwest Solar Forum, held in Palm Springs, Calif., in December 2011, was well-attended by major utilities as well as tribal representatives.

There is no cost to attend the forum, but registration is required.  Attendance is limited to 130 people.  To register, send your name, contact information and e-mail address to the Office of Indian Energy by Feb. 1, 2012.  As soon as your registration is confirmed, you will receive a confirmation notice.

Conference takes on transmission and generation issues

Learn the latest about planning, integration, operations and new technologies for renewable energy generation and transmission on Oct. 18 at the Renewable Planning and Operations Conference External link information in Denver, Colo.

Presented by the Rocky Mountain Electric League External link information (RMEL), the conference agenda targets professionals in electricity generation and transmission, as well as those who work in sustainable energy programs. Speakers will discuss renewable energy, such as wind, solar and biomass, and cover regulatory and policy issues.

Kicking off the program is a panel on Utility-Owned vs. Purchase Power Agreements. Ron Rebenitsch of Basin Electric Power Cooperative External link information and Dan Brickley of SRP External link information will join Greg Greenwood of Westar Energy to explore the pros and cons of engaging in purchase power agreements and/or owning renewables.

Luke O’Dwyer, also of SRP, will talk about the challenges of interconnecting renewable generator systems. His presentation will cover reliability studies, construction timing, equipment and design changes and interconnection queue management.

Discover how Nebraska utilities used the Nebraska Statewide Wind Integration Study to better understand impacts of wind energy facilities being built in the state. Jon Iverson of Omaha Public Power District External link information will discuss what Nebraska’s largest power providers learned from simulated wind scenarios.

Other presentations will cover wind forecasting for load management, demand-side management, system regulation, storage and more. Attendees will receive a continuing education certificate from RMEL worth 6.0 Professional Development Hours.

The Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows provides the location and lodging for the conference. Register today, and reserve your room External link information.

WPA webinar looks at transmission for renewables

Join Western and Wind Powering America May 18 at 1:00 p.m. MT for the free webinar, Opportunities for Adding New Transmission Lines to Support Renewables.

This is the fifth webinar in Wind Powering America’s 2011 free webinar series.  Speakers will focus on three entities that provide the opportunity to build transmission lines needed to get renewable energy to market – Western Renewable Energy Zones (WREZs), USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, and Western Area Power Administration’s Transmission Infrastructure Program.

WREZs are areas throughout the Western Interconnection that feature the potential for large scale development of renewable resources with low environmental impacts.  National Renewable Energy Laboratory works with stakeholders to identify more specific areas within WREZs that balance the benefits of renewable energy development with the need to protect wildlife and crucial habitat.

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service provides funding to build new transmission and distribution lines under USDA Rural Development’s Electric Loan Program. Recipients must meet the conditions of the loan agreement.

Section 402 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides Western new borrowing authority and a source of funds to build transmission lines that help deliver renewable resources to market.  To implement this authority, Western created the Transmission Infrastructure Program (TIP) to assist the modernization of our nation’s infrastructure and enhance energy independence.

The webinar is free; no registration is required. Login information, along with a brief agenda, can be found at Wind Powering America.

Report assesses electric vehicle integration with grid

Electric cars are a hot topic and a big question mark for utilities. Now a report from KEMA, Inc. and Taratec Corporation aims to provide a few answers.

Assessment of Plug-in Electric Vehicle Integration with ISO/RTO Systems examines products and services PEVs could provide under existing market and reliability structures of the North American independent system operators (ISO) and regional transmission organizations (RTO). Researchers focused on identifying programs that could be implemented in the near term, such as regulating PEV battery charging as a demand resource.

The project team estimates that one million PEVs could be deployed in North America within the next five to 10 years. Based on historic sales of the Toyota Prius, the highest concentration of vehicles would be on the West Coast and in the Northeast. The report states that the wholesale energy price impact of those cars ranges from negligible up to 10 percent, depending on the region, available resources and load (both time of day and day of the year). The greatest impact would likely be if lots of PEVs were to charge their batteries at the same time on a day when energy use in the region is already high.

Utilities might be able to mitigate the potential problem of price impacts from PEV charging by implementing price mechanisms such as dynamic pricing, special tariffs or managed charging. These steps would reduce charging over a higher demand, concentrated time period, such as late afternoons in the summer. Also, ISO/RTO systems need to change market rules and invest in IT infrastructure to effectively integrate PEV resources into the existing grid, according to the report.

Overall, vehicle electrification in North America presents power providers with a challenge while also offering unique opportunities. The report concludes that experience with smart grid technologies and using load as a resource in tandem with testing and demonstrations will be invaluable in preparing for the unique changes predicted to arrive.

Are there electric vehicles already in use in your territory? What is your utility doing to prepare for PEVs?

Read about Energy Services Manager Ron Horstman’s test drive of the new all-electric Ford Focus in the September Energy Services Bulletin.

Water, energy, climate change on Western Governors meeting agenda

Utility professionals from the West might have felt right at home at the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) annual meeting in Whitefish, Mont., June 27-29, as discussions covered three pressing issues—water, transmission and climate change.

Potential water crisis looming

On the meeting’s opening day, WGA chairman Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer told attendees that the demand for water across the West is beginning to outstrip supplies, and states have no time to waste in averting a potential crisis. “As a region, we have to become more aggressive and a lot smarter in how we manage this resource,” Schweitzer declared.

Guest speaker Robert Glennon, author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It,” noted that the problem is already affecting communities, states and the region. “We need to use a full suite of tools, including conservation, desalination, reclaimed water, and pricing incentives,” he said. “We also need to facilitate reallocation of water to the highest-value uses.”  

WGA Vice Chairman, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter pointed out the important connection between energy development and water supplies in the West, emphasizing that “both traditional and renewable energy resource development requires adequate water.” 

At the end of the session, the governors accepted a Progress Report from the Western States Water Council on implementation of the Governors’ report on “Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future.”

Tackling complex energy issues

The push for clean energy is likely to accelerate in the wake of the Gulf oil spill and the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy, and transmission will be needed to carry that energy to market.  

Gov. Schweitzer unveiled WGA’s “Transmission Roadmap” on the second day of the meeting. The report can be used by anyone who wants to build a renewable energy facility with transmission. Developers who have not previously done a project will find the report especially helpful. 

The governors also passed a major energy resolution that will have the WGA reporting on industrial and commercial energy-efficiency programs, the impacts of plug-in vehicles on the electrical transmission system, and issues associated with expanding nuclear energy in the West.  Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Energy will be used to develop transmission expansion plans for the West. The plans will not only consider the development of renewable energy, but also wildlife and water concerns.

Report on climate adaptation

The governors also adopted a climate adaptation scoping report during the annual meeting. The report, which emphasizes the need for state and Federal agencies to coordinate efforts to identify key science that is specific to the West, is the first step in sharing and implementing smart practices.

The Scoping Report report comes from WGA’s Climate Adaptation Work Group, composed of western state experts in air, forests, water and wildlife.  The report contains important recommendations for responding to climate change impacts and for including climate science in western states’ policy and management activities.

The WGA Climate Adaptation Work Group will work with stakeholders to implement the recommendations in the report, which is available on the WGA website. The reports are available online, along with more information about the annual meeting.

Transmission workshop presentations available

If you were unable to attend Opening Transmission Constraints for Solar Development Locally and in the West on June 17, you can now download the agenda and presentations.

The Department of Energy Solar Technologies Program and Western Area Power Administration presented this workshop to bring stakeholders together to discuss transmission issues surrounding solar development in the West.

More workshops on transmission are being planned for later this summer. Check Breaking News for the announcements.

Workshop looks at transmission issues affecting solar development in West

Today, there are more opportunities than ever to build large-scale solar projects in the West.   Utilities, developers and governments that want renewable energy to be a part of the region’s economic recovery are invited to attend Opening Transmission Constraints for Solar Development Locally and in the West on June 17, from 1 to 5 p.m. 

The Department of Energy Solar Technologies Program and Western Area Power Administration are sponsoring this workshop on the Arizona State University campus.

Attendees will learn about opportunities in the Solar Technologies Program, about Western’s unique borrowing authority for transmission infrastructure granted in the Recovery Act and about transmission issues from the perspective of large-scale solar developers. Participants will also discuss the steps for moving projects forward.

Utilities, real estate developers and transmission providers and should plan to attend this informative session.  For more information, or to register for the workshop, please e-mail Peggy Plate or call 970-493-5786 by June 10. You will need to provide your name, professional title, company, address, phone number, e-mail and website URL, if applicable.