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PROJECT OVERVIEW

Positive Impact

Public Power Wind Award winners’ efforts lower energy costs and enable utilities to use wind power more reliably.

Location

Washington, California

Partners

Western Area Power Authority

Clean Energy Sector

Renewable electricity generation

EERE recognized utilities in California and Washington with the 2013 Public Power Wind award for outstanding efforts to accelerate the use of wind energy. Created in 2003 by the Department’s Wind Powering America Initiative, the Public Power Wind award recognizes and encourages community-owned electric utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power in the United States.

Washington’s Snohomish County Public Utility District received its award for its participation in the Wind Integration Forum—a joint initiative led by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and the Bonneville Power Administration addressing wind energy and hydroelectric generation in the region and integrating these resources into the electric grid. As part of the forum, Snohomish is one of two regional utilities to participate in a pilot program in which both utilities provide twice-an-hour scheduling of wind transmission, increased from the standard once-an-hour schedule grid operators have used for decades. More frequent communication between wind suppliers and grid operators allows the northwest electrical system to better adjust to wind fluctuations and adds greater flexibility to the grid. Snohomish also installed two micro-wind turbines at its operation center to collect data on new small-scale generation and streamlined contracting for customer projects of less than two-megawatt capacity. Thanks in part to these efforts, Snohomish generates nearly 8% of its energy supply from wind power—more than any other public utility in Washington.

Southern California Public Power Authority received its award for its use of innovative financing to aggregate more than 710 megawatts of installed wind capacity. By carefully structuring the power purchase agreements across five wind projects, Southern California secured energy prices for several participating municipal systems at substantially lower costs.

The Wind Program is committed to developing and deploying a portfolio of innovative technologies for clean, domestic power generation to support an ever-growing industry.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) success stories highlight the positive impact of its work with businesses, industry partners, universities, research labs, and other entities.