Archive for the ‘MORE’ Topic

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!  

Community Solar in the News

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

 

Check out this article by the Rocky Mountain Institute (sent in by a member) about the benefits of large-scale community renewable energy.  It’s a good overview of a complicated concept, and also a look at how other communities are approaching this.  Currently, our Member Owned Renewable Energy (M.O.R.E.) committee is reviewing options for San Juan County.

Community Solar: A Cost-Effective Bridge away from Net Metering?

Want more information?  Check out our Renewable Generation page!

Annual Report – Win a $50 Bill Credit

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

OPALCO’s 2015 Annual Report is ready for your reading pleasure. We want you to know who we are and what we are up to. So much so, in fact, that if you read the report and take the Treasure Hunt quiz, we’ll enter you to win a $50 bill credit. Go for the gold!

Come to your local Energy Fairs in May and June!

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

OPALCO is asking all members to understand the sources of electric power and to be aware of their personal energy usage habits and savings options.  Please join the OPALCO Energy Savings team, the M.O.R.E. (Member Owned Renewable Energy) committee, and Islands Energy at upcoming local Energy Fairs.  Participate in solar home tours, efficiency and conservation workshops, kids activities, raffle prizes, and more!  Here are the details:

San Juan Island: Saturday, May 17th; 10am to 3pm @ 95 Nichols Street

Lopez Island: Saturday, May 31st; 10am to 3pm @ Lopez Center for Community and the Arts

Orcas Island: Saturday, June 7th; 10am to 3pm @ Eastsound Village Green

Other highlights include:

  • Free energy savings kitsIslands Energy Logo
  • Demonstrations of electric vehicles
  • A presentation about planned Community Solar projects
  • Information about home energy audits and locally generated power
  • Information about OPALCO efficiency rebate programs
  • Local contractor booths
  • Energy keynote speakers
  • Live music by The Field Boats, a Lopez Island band

These fairs represent launch events for the newly-formed partnership between OPALCO and the San Juan Islands Conservation District.

The Conservation District serves as an umbrella organization for other local and regional nonprofits joining the efforts to increase energy and conservation education and to pilot a Community Solar program in San Juan County.  The collective group has adopted the name Islands Energy.

Due to limited availability and anticipated demand, reservations for the Home Energy Conservation Workshop and the Solar Home Tours are recommended. To reserve a spot, please call the Conservation District at 360-378-6621 or email energy@sjislandscd.org to pre-register.

 

 

How Clean and Green is the Electricity that OPALCO Delivers?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

OPALCO is contracted with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to secure the lowest cost, most reliable power for our member owners. Each year, BPA reports on the fuel mix—the various sources of electrical generation—that were delivered to us for distribution. The 2011 fuel mix report shows that our fuel mix was 97% greenhouse-gas free with more than 90% of our power being generated by clean and green hydro-electric turbines. Greenhouse gases are those that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. The process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect, which contributes to global warming.

The components of the fuel mix vary from year (see this year’s detailed report) due to the availability of wind power and Columbia Generating Station (nuclear energy), which shuts down every two years for refueling and routine maintenance. Additionally, from time to time BPA requests Columbia Generating Station reduce power due to current or expected high water levels in the federal hydroelectric system.

The other components of the fuel mix represent less than 3% of the total generation and include (in order of prevalence): coal, natural gas, biomass, waste, petroleum, landfill gases, solar, co-generation, geo-thermal and other.

What about all the member-owned renewable energy (MORE) generated locally by OPALCO members? There are more than 80 members who generate their own power and are interconnected to OPALCO’s grid. The total kWh annual production is over 200,000 kWh compared to the total co-op annual consumption of about 200,000,000 kWh. However, with the promise of higher rates tied to load growth in the near future, everything we can do as a co-op to reduce our load—every kWh we can avoid using through efficiency and conservation or that we generate ourselves—will help us to shape our own energy future.

What will you do to be more efficient and avoid kWh use in your home or business?

WIND POWER!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

it is an exciting time for small scale wind power in San Juan County. Two very different wind turbine systems have recently connected to the OPALCO grid.  The first is the somewhat traditional looking 120’ turbine on Lopez manufactured by Xzeres. This 10kW system is expected to produce over 12,000 kWh per year. The second installation is the two turbine, futuristic looking Earth Ball system on Orcas.  These turbines are manufactured by Home Energy America and are rated at 2.5kW each. The expected yearly output for each Earth Ball is 3000kWh.

Both owner-members have signed up for the MORE (Member Owned Renewable Energy) program and will be receiving a production incentive funded by the voluntary contributions of other Co-op members who support local renewable energy generation.  If you want to support the MORE program, check the box on your paper bill or call in to let us know at 376-3500.

The OPALCO Energy Services staff will be monitoring these new wind systems along with their owners for performance numbers. We will report back in six months with the data.

Thanks to all who visited us at the County Fair

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

OPALCO staff had a great time talking (and playing Plinko) with you at the Fair – thanks for stopping by to visit. In case you missed it, here’s a glimpse of the fun:

  • Members learned how to save energy in their homes by playing the very popular Plinko game crafted by co-op members and employee Elisa and Nate Howard. Prizes included school pencil cases with a cool multi- color highlighter and organic cotton backpacks stocked with home energy efficiency items.
  • You could ride a stationary bike to learn how much effort it takes to light an incandescent bulb vs. a CFL or make a smoothie.
  • If you signed up for one of OPALCO’s programs (MORE, PAL, Sharing the Load blog or Home Snapshot Energy Assessment), you were entered into the daily draw for a basket of energy efficiency tools and goodies.
  • You could talk with members of the MORE (member owned renewable energy) committee and learn how YOU can support local renewable power generated by your island neighbors and fellow co-op members.
  • You could check out the Nissan LEAF (Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) – on display in front of the main entrance and learn more about how electric cars work.
  • And, the ever popular safety board display was a hit. Lineman conducted safety demonstrations and well as discussed current projects.

There was a great response of participants and OPALCO thanks you for doing your part. Working together through energy efficiency we can make a difference in managing our load and keeping rates lower!

Visit with OPALCO at Eco-Fest and County Fair

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

OPALCO’s Energy Services staff will be on hand to talk with members at two big events in the next month: at the Orcas Island Eco-Fest and Solar Science Fair on Saturday, August 6th at the Funhouse and, of course, at the San Juan County Fair in Friday Harbor from August 18-20th.

At the Eco-Fest, you can learn about OPALCO’s MORE (Member Owned Renewable Energy) program and how you can participate in producing and/or supporting local renewable power like solar energy; and OPALCO’s Nissan Leaf all electric car will be on site for a closer look.

The County Fair is all “Razzle-Dazzle” this year and OPALCO’s booth (look for us in the SW corner of the big exhibition building) will feature energy superhero information and action with games and great give-aways for those who take the “energy superhero challenge.” See you at the Fair!

Use Generators Safely During Power Outages – MORE to Meet 12/8

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Portable electric generators can offer great benefits when outages affect your home but can also create hazards when installed or used improperly. Have a licensed electrician install your generator to protect the safety of your household and the OPALCO line crew. Click here for guidelines for safely connecting and operating portable generators.

The next meeting of the MORE Steering Committee is Wednesday, December 8th at 8:30 am in the Friday Harbor OPALCO office. Agenda includes a discussion of refine Policy 14 and the marketing of the new MORE program. Minutes and agenda are posted on the MORE page.

MORE Steering Committee Meets 11/10 on Orcas

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

The next meeting of the MORE Steering Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 10th at 10:45 am in the Parlor Room of the Orcas Hotel. Minutes from the 10/27/10 meeting are posted on the MORE page.