Seattle City Light on Track to Meet I-937 Goals

Seattle City Light is on track to meet the energy conservation and renewable energy requirements of the Washington Energy Independence Act, which was approved by voters as Initiative 937.

In addition to a requirement for large utilities to have 15 percent of their energy portfolios come from new renewable energy resources by 2020, the law also outlines energy conservation targets to be met every two years.

City Light used the Utility Analysis Option to set our two-year conservation target. City Light completed a Conservation Potential Assessment in 2014 to identify achievable and cost-effective energy conservation potential.

This study identified a biennial energy conservation potential of 207,437 megawatt-hours for 2014-2015 and a 10-year conservation potential of 1,037,184 megawatt-hours. The Seattle City Council adopted these targets with Resolution #31487.

City Light is ahead of pace in meeting the 2014-2015 goal. Through the end of 2014, City Light achieved 159,033 megawatt-hours of savings. That means halfway through the reporting period, the utility has already achieved 76.7 percent of its 2014-2015 biennial target. City Light relied on Bonneville Power Administration’s IS 2.0 reporting system to capture all its energy conservation savings for 2014, which reflects the most current data available as of May 2015.

City Light is required to submit a report on its progress in meeting the conservation targets to the Washington Department of Commerce by June 1.

In 2015, City Light needs to have I-937 eligible renewable energy resources equivalent to 3 percent of retail sales.  City Light will meet this requirement with our purchase of energy produced by the Stateline Wind Project, the Priest Rapids dam and Wanapum dam, and renewable energy credits we get from our purchase from the Bonneville Power Administration.

The Stateline wind farm is one source of new, renewable energy for Seattle City Light.

In 2016, the target increases to 9 percent of sales.  City Light will meet this requirement with contracts already signed with geothermal, biomass, bio-gas, and wind-powered projects in the Northwest.

Seattle City Light Offers 2015 Excess Transmission Capacity for Resale

Seattle City Light is offering for resale excess capacity that it controls on the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission system.

City Light does not currently need this portion of the transmission capacity it has the rights to on BPA’s system. Transmission needs can change over time, however. The one-year sale is designed to maximize the value of this transmission resource for the utility and its customer-owners while protecting access to that resource in the future.

The product being offered is BPA firm network point-to-point transmission for 2015. Responses to City Light’s request for proposals are due Friday, Dec. 12 by 4 p.m.

Bidders are subject to credit approval by the utility’s Risk Oversight Division. Bids of longer tenors will be given priority. City Light reserves the right to accept or reject any and/or all bids and to modify this offer.

All bidders must be registered BPA customers and provide their BPA customer number. Participants have to bid flat, meaning they have to be willing to buy on peak and off peak transmission bundled together. We do this to protect the long-term nature of our transmission. 

Details of the offering can be found here.

A Call for Talks on the 50th Anniversary of the Columbia River Treaty

On the 50th Anniversary of the Columbia River Treaty, a group of 88 electric utilities, including Seattle City Light, and industry associations representing 6.4 million Northwest electric customers, is renewing its call to the Obama Administration to begin Columbia River Treaty talks with Canada in 2014 and to use the Regional Recommendation as a basis for treaty talks.  

September 16th marks the 50th Anniversary of the Columbia River Treaty and is the first opportunity for either country to seek significant changes to the Treaty.

“Any future Treaty must ensure that Northwest electric ratepayers are treated fairly,” said Scott Corwin, executive director, Public Power Council. “Currently, according to the U.S. government, Canada receives vastly more value from Treaty operations.  Our region’s highest Treaty priority must be to address this inequity.”

The current treaty uses an outdated 50 year old formula for calculating the Treaty’s power benefits or payments to Canada. The formula relies on assumptions that do not reflect current Columbia River Treaty operations.  This payment, known as the “Canadian Entitlement” is estimated to cost Northwest electric ratepayers 70 to 90 percent more than it should.  

In 2013, after a three-year stakeholder input process in the Northwest, the U.S. Entity led by the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the Regional Recommendation for the Future of the Columbia River Treaty.

The Regional Recommendation says the “Canadian Entitlement” should be reduced and calls for a decision in 2014 to proceed with treaty talks with Canada and to complete that process no later than 2015.  The Power Group believes the Regional Recommendation should serve as the basis for treaty talks between the United States and Canada.

Last April, the 26-member Northwest Congressional Delegation sent a letter to President Obama supporting the Regional Recommendation call to address current treaty inequities that impact more than 6.4 million electric ratepayers in the Northwest.

Termination of the treaty is one option if Canada refuses to share treaty benefits more equitably with the American people.  A termination notice to Canada would trigger a renegotiation of several outdated aspects of the treaty.  The Power Group encourages the United States and Canada to launch Columbia River Treaty talks and to agree to a more equitable sharing of benefits under the treaty. 

In addition, the Power Group maintains that a modernized Columbia River Treaty should maintain flood risk management that’s similar to current levels.  Any proposals to alter flood control protection practices should be carefully considered, authorized by the Congress, with an eye toward protecting life and property. Furthermore, Northwest electric ratepayers should not be expected to bear flood control protection costs. Funding for flood risk management should be consistent with national policies of funding through the federal budget.

The Columbia River Treaty Power Group provides a forum for electric utilities, industry associations, and other entities representing an estimated 6.4 million electric ratepayers of the Northwest that depend on the Columbia River for power, flood control, navigation and other benefits.

Northwest Lawmakers Highlight Importance of Columbia River Treaty

 About 40 percent of the electricity Seattle City Light delivers to its customers comes from the Bonneville Power Administration and its hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. That’s why Seattle City Light is thankful for the 26 members of Congress from the Pacific Northwest who crafted a letter to President Obama highlighting the importance for consumers of renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty with Canada. 

Read the news release issued by the congressional delegation below.

26 Northwest Lawmakers Highlight the Importance of the Columbia River Treaty

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Press Obama Administration for Local Input in Treaty’s Future

Washington, D.C. – Today, all 26 lawmakers representing Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho urged President Obama to make the future of the 1964 Columbia River Treaty a priority for 2014. In a letter led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), and House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the 26 lawmakers highlighted the importance of the Columbia River Treaty and asked the Administration to take direct action on this issue by mid-year 2014, as called for in a recent regional recommendation led by the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“It is essential that the Administration now advance this work through discussions with Canada to ensure that a post-2024 Treaty better reflects the interests of our constituents in the region and the United States as a whole. As you convene an Interagency Policy Committee on the Recommendation, we draw your attention to the Recommendation’s clear call for a decision and action by the Administration on this matter by mid-year,” wrote Members in the letter.

Members also underscored the importance of the Obama Administration to be open and transparent in the treaty negotiations with Canada and for the Administration to consider input from Northwest lawmakers and regional stakeholders as the process moves forward.

“The Columbia River provides significant economic and cultural benefits to our region and how it is managed through the Treaty will have major impacts into the future. Therefore, it is important that you remain in regular and close communication with the Pacific Northwest Congressional Delegation during the Interagency Policy Committee process and keep us apprised of potential negotiations with Canada. In addition, we encourage the Administration to remain open to input from and engagement with concerned regional stakeholders, many of whom have valuable expertise in managing the Columbia River and played an integral role in developing the Recommendation.”

For fifty years, the Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada has provided the framework for coordinated hydropower generation and flood control on the Columbia River system.  Starting this year, either side can seek to terminate the Treaty with ten years notice, prompting a renewed look at the Treaty in the United States and Canada. The regional review led by the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resulted in the “Regional Recommendation for the Future of the Columbia River Treaty after 2024,” which was delivered to the Administration for further action in December 2013. (To view the “Regional Recommendation for the Future of the Columbia River Treaty after 2024,” click here.)

Click here to view the letter.

The full list of signatories is below:

U.S. Senate: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. John Walsh (D-MT), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

U.S. House: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Derek Kilmer  (D-WA), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Rep. Dave Reichert  (R-WA), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)