Archive for October, 2011

The High-Stakes Math Behind the West’s Greatest River

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Hydro-electric power makes up about 83% of the energy that OPALCO delivers to its members on 20 islands in San Juan County. That hydro power comes from the Federal Columbia River Power System: dams like the Bonneville and the Grand Coulee on the Columbia River. Managing the dams and the flow of water and power is a series of complex equations. Check out this article (due to be published in Forbes Magazine on November 7th) for a in-depth look at how our hydro system works.

OPALCO’s MORE Program Pays Dividends to Renewable Generators

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Earlier this year a volunteer group of OPALCO members built a new green power program in support of local renewable energy – electricity generated by our fellow members. The first MORE (Member Owned Renewable Energy) incentives were paid out at the end of August for the period of July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011. So far, fourteen member generators have signed up with the MORE Program.  The total incentives paid for 2011 was $5,493; and the total allowable kWh generated was 18,311kWh (2 systems generated more than the 4,000 kWh cap, one system being 8.82 KW and the other 5.8KW in size). All of the member generators are solar and they produced a total of 23,925 kWh.

There are two ways members can participate in the MORE Program: Producers – members who install new renewable energy systems and interconnect to the OPALCO grid and Contributors – members who opt for monthly or one-time donations to support the fund.

As of August 2011 we have forty-three co-op members who elect to go “All Green”, paying a 4 cent premium on top of the regular charge per kWh and we have four hundred and sixty-six members that are purchasing $4 “blocks”, per month totaling 990 blocks so far.  Participation is 4.2% of the OPALCO membership.

How can you participate? It’s easy. If you are already opting into OPALCO’s green power program you can simply continue as before—the difference is where your donations are put to work: right here in San Juan County. If you want to join OPALCO’s green power program, check the box on your paper bill or call 376-3500.


Energy Efficiency App: Tip of the Day

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Everything you do, no matter how small can add up to big savings on your electric bill each month. With the new smart phone app – you can receive a “tip of the day” reminder of ways to save energy and money around your home. Yes, there’s an app for that, too. By doing a little you can actually save a lot. Available now for the following devices: iPhone Droid Blackberry