Update from Energy Resources Director, Dan Bedbury

As the days get shorter and vacations come to an end, thoughts of Fall and the change of seasons are upon us. Our offices have reopened to the public with most staff safely moving back to in-office schedules. It’s been fantastic to be able to meet face to face with our customers once again. Key Accounts Managers are immersed in conversations with our commercial and industrial customers, our ports, our school districts, as well as leadership within our cities.

It is an exciting time and we have some good impactful news to share. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) predicts that long-term wholesale power contracts will be holding customer rates flat on average for all segments for the upcoming BPA contract years of October 2023 through September 2025. That will make six years with flat average rates from BPA. We have finished updating our 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), with the public comment period having just ended, and a final update submitted to the Department of Commerce.

The IRP update comes on the heels of our recently completed and submitted Clean Energy Implementation Plan. A plan that has the spirit of getting our fuel mix cleaner, faster. We’ve also been working with BPA for over a year on a process to partially un-declare the River Road Generating Plant. That action will mean more flexibility to meet mandates set in the state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act. The equivalent amount of un-declared energy, over 100 megawatt hours, will be placed back on BPA, allowing us to green up a large portion of our portfolio.

To meet load growth predictions from further electrification in our community, staff is in negotiations to purchase the output of a northwest dam for 16 years starting in 2026 that will bring 50 average megawatt hours of 100% renewable hydro power to our customers. We are also poised to update the River Road Generating Plant in May of 2024 with new technology that will allow us to move from baseload operations to a flexible operation that can adjust generation between 248 megawatts down to 95 megawatts. This change will allow the flexibility to switch between maximum generation during high load events, expensive energy, and critical transmission times to lower output generation during times when intermittent wind and solar are available during real time operations. It will also allow us to integrate more of our own renewables.

But the best resource of all is the resource you don’t need to build; conservation and energy efficiency in all our homes and businesses. Be it projects, products, systems or behavioral operation implementations, Clark Public Utilities’ Key Accounts Managers are here to assist you in all facets of energy efficiency. From custom projects, to strategic energy management, EV charging implementation, integrated systems, building envelope, lighting projects and connected thermostats, we are here to serve. Clark Public Utilities is also a core funder of NEEA, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. This four-state northwest alliance spurs advancement in the market transformation around energy efficiency, reducing energy needs now for a better future tomorrow.

Lastly, our Board of Commissioners recently approved that we set aside funds for a future Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. Much more to come on that subject.

There is a lot of excellent work happening here at Clark Public Utilities. Feel free to reach out to your Key Accounts Manager with any questions. We appreciate your business!

Save the Date!

Our upcoming Key Accounts Forum will be held in-person on October 27 from 9am to 12pm at the Water Resources Education Center. Highlights include a presentation from Clark Public Utilities General Manager, Lena Wittler, House Bill 1257, as well as commercial and industrial program updates. Breakfast will be provided.

Invitations to follow. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Electric Vehicle (EV) Level 3 Charger Credit Program

Considering the installation of a Level 3 Fast Charger for your EV driving customers or employees? Good news, Clark Public Utilities recently launched a new EV Level 3 Demand Charge Credit program that aims to increase the number of fast chargers in Clark County. Customers who install, and separately meter, a new Level 3 EV charger can receive an annual credit of $1,500 to assist in offsetting the demand charges associated with the 480 volt fast chargers. The utility continues to offer $500 incentives for the installation of qualified Level 2 EV chargers as well. Contact your Key Accounts Manager or visit the program webpage to learn more.

Clean Energy Fund Building Electrification Program

Source: Washington State Department of Commerce

Commerce is preparing to make $9.7 million of total funding available under the Clean Building Fund Building Electrification Grant program.
The program will award funding under two tracks to eligible projects that:

  1. Deploy smart technologies to advance grid-interactive efficient buildings; or
  2. Install high-efficiency electric equipment, or replace and reduce the use of fossil fuel equipment.

Eligible applicants include for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, state and local governments, Tribal governments, retail electric utilities, and individual owners of multifamily residential or commercial buildings.

In an effort to provide the greatest benefit, applicants are eligible for reduced match requirements based on the percent of total project costs dedicated to reducing energy burdens and meaningfully engage highly-impacted communities and vulnerable populations. Additionally, preference will be given to projects that provide workforce development and partnership opportunities.

Commerce anticipates releasing the Request For Applications in October 2022. Keep an eye out for engagement opportunities coming up in August and September.

Please send questions to [email protected].

No-cost Clean Buildings Support
If your building is subject to the Clean Buildings Performance Standard, don’t miss out on opportunities for no-cost assistance. Utility companies throughout Washington have literature, incentives and accelerator programs designed to support commercial customers to comply with or exceed the Standard. Visit the Clean Buildings Support and Resources webpage for a list of links to these resources.

How to Apply for an Exemption
Some buildings may qualify for an exemption to the Clean Buildings Performance Standard.

Find the list of exemptions in WAC 194-50-150 section Z4.1 of the standard.

To apply for an exemption, you must complete Form H – Application for Exemption Certificate. Form H is not yet available.

At this time, Commerce will accept applications for exemption between 365 and 180 days prior to the scheduled compliance date. Guidelines are in the works that will allow an application for exemption at any point prior to 180 days before the compliance date. The Washington State Department of Commerce will post notification of these guidelines on their webpage once they are final.

Join the contact list to be notified when Form H is available.

Smart Buildings Center offers one-on-one consultations
Clark Public Utilities, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Snohomish County PUD and Tacoma Power sponsor a helpdesk service. The Smart Building Center service provides technical assistance and coaching during office hours via phone, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and email.

In addition, a resource webpage including training videos, FAQs and other resources regarding the Standard is available.

Inflation Reduction Act

As you’ve probably heard, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law on August 16th and you probably have a lot of questions. The Energy Resources staff are busy researching this act to better understand how it can be a resource to our customers, but here is a look at some of the highlights in the “Clean Energy” Section:

  • Families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year.
  • $14,000 in direct consumer rebates for families to buy heat pumps or other energy efficient home appliances, saving families at least $350 per year.
  • 7.5 million more families will be able install solar on their roofs with a 30% tax credit, saving families $9,000 over the life of the system or at least $300 per year.
  • Up to $7,500 in tax credits for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles, helping families save $950 per year.
  • Putting America on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals, which will save every family an average of $500 per year on their energy costs.

For a summary of the full IRA, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/15/by-the-numbers-the-inflation-reduction-act/.

Your Key Accounts Team

Meet your Key Accounts Team! Every business customer of Clark Public Utilities has a designated account manager. Your account manager can help you understand your bill, identify opportunities to reduce energy waste, and take advantage of utility programs to save you money.

(left to right: Ashley King, Bill Hibbs, Lori Froehlich, Zeecha Van Hoose, Mike Wallace, Debbie DePetris)