Meeting of Commissioners of
Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, Washington
June 6, 2023
A meeting of Commissioners of Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County was held at Clark Public Utilities, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington, on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.
Present: President Jane Van Dyke, Vice President Jim Malinowski, Secretary Nancy Barnes Commissioners, CEO/General Manager Lena Wittler, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Operations/Interim Director of Water Gene Morris, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Communications Erica Erland, Director of Information Services Jeff Groff, Director of Employee Resources Nichole Reitzenstein, General Counsel John Eldridge, Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, Community Engagement Specialist Morgan Van Fleet, Senior Communications Manager Heather Allmain, Power Manager Steve Andersen, Engineering Manager – Water Russ Knutson, System Operator Greg Van Fleet and Assistant to the CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson.
Staff present via digital conference (phone or video): PIO/Media Specialist Dameon Pesanti.
Others present via digital conference (phone or video) or in person: Energy Northwest CEO Bob Schuetz, Kathy Bender, Tom Gordon, The Catchings, Don and Alona Steinke, Jared Knode, Cathryn Chudy, Jason Herbert, Rick Bannan, Richard Shaff, Sarah Brown, Jessica Hasen, Cassandra O, Sarah Otterpiolet, Craig Brown, Greg Wilen, Peter Harrison, Dr. Sharon Bucher, Terry Oliver and Todd Bernier.
Press representatives: Sarah Wolfe, Columbian
At 9:00 a.m., President Van Dyke called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business and the agenda was approved (Materials B).
The following represents a brief summary of comments made by members of the public in attendance:
Peter Harrison shared his thoughts on a carbon dioxide report just released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate change and his recent volunteer activities with Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency due to wild fires in the region.
If written comments are submitted, they may be obtained by contacting Margaret Anderson at [email protected] or 360-992-3378.
Consideration of the Minutes of May 16, 2023
The minutes were approved as presented.
Consideration of Accounts Payable
The board, by a unanimous vote, approved the following payment amounts as listed on the Letter of Transmittal dated June 6, 2023 from the District Auditor (Materials C):
Electric Revenue Fund – $28,941,098.58
Water Revenue Fund – $930,466.00
Generating System Fund – $979,314.71
For a total of $30,850,879.29
Employee Service Awards
Director of Operations/Interim Director of Water Gene Morris introduced Greg Van Fleet, System Operator. Greg was recognized for 20 years of service (Materials D).
Consideration of Agreement to Participate in Energy Northwest Phase 0 Funding for Small Modular Reactor Development
Energy Northwest CEO Bob Schuetz and project manager Jared Knode presented a proposed study by Energy Northwest to determine the viability of small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) in the Pacific Northwest (Materials E). The presentation outlined the areas of exploration including technology evolution, risks and risk mitigation, costs and funding sources in addition to community engagement. Energy Northwest is asking Clark Public Utilities and several other Public Utility Districts for a contribution to help fund the study.
Mr. Schuetz noted the need for additional clean energy in the region due to the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) requirements and the forecasted increase in demand for power, and proposed that SMR’s may have the ability to fill that need.
Commissioner Malinowski feels this study allows the region to keep all options open with regard to meeting increased energy demand and CETA requirements. Commissioner Barnes noted that SMR’s take up considerably less land than a wind project or solar project would to produce comparable amounts of energy.
Commissioner Van Dyke opened the floor for public comment.
The following members of the public spoke in opposition to Clark Public Utilities participating in the study with Energy Northwest: Dr. Sharon Bucher, Todd Bernier, Terry Oliver, Don Steinke, Alona Steinke, Cathryn Chudy, Kathy Bender, Rick Marshall and Sharon Brown.
Member of the public Peter Harrison spoke in favor of participation in the study.
For detailed recorded comments please contact Margaret Anderson at 360-992-3378 or at [email protected] and a link to the audio recording can be provided.
Commissioners thanked staff for the additional research done at the request of the board to help inform the decision. Commissioner Van Dyke reiterated that this would be an agreement to support the Phase 0 study only and not a commitment beyond participation in the feasibility research.
Commissioner Barnes moved to contribute $200,000 to help support the Energy Northwest Phase 0 Small Modular Nuclear Study. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Director of Finance Melissa Ankeny addressed the board (Materials F). Weather was colder and wetter than normal, which resulted in electric revenues coming in above budget and off system sales coming in below budget. April residential sales were 114.6% of budget, commercial sales were 108.1% and industrial sales were 98.8% of budget. April ended with a net income loss of $2.04 million compared to a budgeted net income of $1.4 million. Year-to-date net income loss is $1.2 million compared to a budgeted net income of $11.7 million.
The Water System ended April with 314 new customers, which is a growth rate of 2.4% year-to-date. April ended with a net income of $11,000 compared to a budgeted net income loss of $253,000. Year-to-date net income is $153,000 compared to a budgeted net income loss of $932,000.
April Wholesale Operations
Power Manager Steve Andersen addressed the board (Materials G). Mr. Andersen provided an update on power supply noting that Slice generation was 78 average MW below budget and loads in April were 50 average MW above budget.
Mr. Andersen reviewed volume run-off, Combine Hills production, April pricing and a review of the wholesale market during the month. April net metering generation was 2.3 average MW.
Commission Reports and Comments
There were none.
There were none.
The meeting was recessed into executive session at 11:25 a.m. in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. RCW 42.30.110 (1)(g) – to evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment or to review the performance of a public employee. The executive session was expected to last no longer than twenty minutes.
Commissioner Van Dyke reconvened the public meeting at 11:45 a.m.
Other Business before the Board
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:48 a.m.