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The U.S. Department of Energy, together with the American Public Power Association (APPA), today recognized the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA) and Silicon Valley Power (SVP) of Santa Clara, California, as the winners of the 2014 Public Power Wind Awards.
The awards, presented at the APPA National Conference in Denver, Colorado, recognize publicly owned utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power in the United States. Together, OMPA and SVP join 17 other utilities that have received this award over the past 12 years through a partnership between the APPA and the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
SVP received the award in the public power utility category for their 30-year, sustained commitment to acquiring, developing, and integrating wind energy in Santa Clara, where the municipal electric utility first began purchasing property for wind energy development in 1982. SVP built a 20 megawatt (MW) wind farm that has continued to provide affordable power to Santa Clara customers for over 25 years, and expanding on the success of their low investment risk model for wind energy, SVP provides its customers with renewable energy at the lowest average rate in the state of California. As of 2012, SVP's power mix was 13.8% wind energy, far above the California state average of 5%.
OMPA, a consumer-owned public power entity that serves 39 municipally owned electric systems, received the award for steadily building its renewable energy portfolio in an effort to support its members' green power initiatives. More than a decade ago, OMPA became the first commercial power company to offer wind power to municipal customers in Oklahoma and, in 2011, OMPA purchased more than 49 MW of wind generating capacity, bringing their wind energy generation to 14% of their total annual power production. Additionally, OMPA has demonstrated creativity in its approach to integrating wind energy into its portfolio.
The criteria used to judge the nominees include high performing executive leadership, creative marketing approaches, project innovation, and benefits to customers. A panel of experts from the wind industry, government, the Energy Department's national laboratories, and public power agencies selected this year's winners from nominations from across the country.
Learn more about how wind energy works through this recently released Energy 101 video.
The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality and economic vitality. Learn more about the Energy Department's efforts to research, test, develop and deploy innovative wind energy technologies.