Archive for the ‘Energy Policy’ Topic

EV Car show in Friday Harbor

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Electric Vehicles are driving the future!

Friday Harbor EV Car Show Final

When islanders purchase new cars, we are more frequently buying electric vehicles (EVs) than a traditional car, with an internal combustion engine. On San Juan Island on April 29th, 2017, in partnership with the San Juan Islands Conservation District, we are going to highlight some EVs you might see driving around, including hybrid cars, plug-in 100% electric vehicles, and some truly unique local endeavors.  You might see a Toyota Prius or two, a Nissan Leaf, some cutting-edge Teslas, and even a vehicle built by local students in Friday Harbor.

Help us celebrate our uncanny ability to save energy, and embrace new technologies, making us a clean and environmentally friendly community!

EV vs ICE Efficiency Comparison

Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Checks Being Mailed

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Are you waiting for a check for the WA State Renewable Energy Incentive?  Payments are being mailed this week!  These incentives help to offset the cost of installing renewable energy generating systems.

If you are an Interconnected Member Generator (see Member Policy 14 for details), OPALCO measures every kWh you produce, and we pay you for each unit per the guidelines from the State legislature.  This means that you can send power back to the grid for your friends and neighbors to use, OR you can use it at your home or business; either way, you get credit for it!

If you want to keep an eye on how much you’re using versus how much you produce, the SmartHub tool allows you to monitor your consumption and generation.  It also allows you to review your billing history, and find out how much you send back to your friends and neighbors each month.  Thank you, Member Generators for generating over 988,000 kilowatt hours this year!

smarthub-net-meter-screenshot

Net Meter Analysis

Renewables on Decatur

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

OPALCO enjoys the opportunity to speak at community events that involve our programs.  On Saturday, September 3rd, we had the pleasure of sharing some time with Dr. Steve Johnson (former Executive Director of the WA PUD Association) on Decatur Island to talk about OPALCO’s Renewable Energy programs, and also discuss some future thoughts about Community Solar in the San Juan Islands.  We pondered over topics like Net Metering, M.O.R.E., and Policy 14 – Interconnection of Member Generators, and had a great dialogue with the membership.  There was an awesome turnout, and we had lots of great questions.

DecaturBulb

We have already participated in Community Solar projects, and we are looking into the future to see what the next project will look like in the San Juans.  To find out more about Community Solar and the future of OPALCO, check out our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in the Resource Library.

Have a meeting you’d like OPALCO to be a part of?  Need someone to speak about local energy, renewables, or conservation and efficiency?  Contact us to see if we can help!  

Rep. Jeff Morris on Appliance Efficiency and Coal Plant Exit Strategy

Monday, April 6th, 2015

 

WA Representative Jeff Morris shared some recent state legislative action, with these highlights:

1) Appliance Efficiency

The 2015 House of Representatives passed Rep. Morris’ bill to set higher efficiency standards for appliances sold in Washington. House Bill 1100 will require appliances to be manufactured with better energy saving mechanisms in order to be sold in Washington. Inefficient appliances waste energy – costly for Washington families and our environment.

California has already established higher efficiency standards. If we don’t catch up, Washington could become a dumping ground for low-efficiency, outdated appliances that manufacturers can’t sell in other states.

His bill is now sent on to the Senate, where he hopes for speedy passage.

2) Creating an ‘Exit Strategy’ for Coal Plants

Morris also introduced a bill that would give state utility companies a pathway for closing down coal plants and phasing out coal-fired energy generation.

Despite state, federal and consumer pressures, the transition for utility companies to end coal energy generation is more complicated than simply closing coal plants. Market instability and financial burden caused by the removal of a large energy source eventually falls on consumers, which could escalate rates for those now dependent on coal.

Morris says,“If we expect our utility companies to end their use of coal, we need to give them a viable exit strategy that protects consumers.”

His proposed legislation wouldn’t force the closure of any plants and instead provides a cost-effective pathway for utilities to do it themselves.

Note that many states with low-cost electricity, like West Virginia, burn cheap, dirty coal. This chart of carbon footprints clearly demonstrates that hydro power carbon footprint is about 250 times cleaner than coal. OPALCO electricity comes primarily from very clean, renewable hydro power, as shown in the 2013 Fuel Mix report.

Energy Carbon Footprint

WA Representative Jeff Morris represents the 40th Legislative District that includes San Juan County and parts of Skagit and Whatcom Counties.  Jeff has been a strong leader on energy initiatives, including energy efficiency and renewable energy policy. 

For more information about both bills, click here.  To learn more about ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home (including upgrading to efficient appliances), visit our OPALCO Energy Savings website.