The following information comes from Steve Weiss, who recently assumed the position of public interest liaison for the Bonneville Power Administration after a long career at the Northwest Energy Coalition.
During the recent public comment period on the Energy Efficiency Post-2011 Implementation Proposal, we received a lot of feedback on the Large Project Fund. BPA is hosting a public meeting on February 23 from 10 to noon at the Public Power Council offices to further explore Large Project Funding, Industrial Incentive Pass Through and next steps. As many of you following this issue know, Bonneville received many comments regarding its proposed Energy Efficiency (EE) proposal—most quite favorable. In general the only real remaining area of controversy is how to deal with the funding for large, mostly industrial projects. Often, these big projects are extremely cost-effective, plus they make up a significant piece of the EE target that BPA has committed to acquiring based on the Council’s 6th Plan.
The issue has two facets. First, because the projects are large and “lumpy” (that is, unpredictable and often one-of-a-kind), there is a concern that individual utilities will not be able to budget for them. The cost of one large project could simply overwhelm the yearly budgets of even mid-size utilities. Second, because the timing of these types of projects depends so much on business events outside the control of the utility, restrictions in BPA’s draft proposal on “cross-rate period” shifting of BPA’s EE funds could interfere with a utility making a commitment to a project that might not be completed when expected. Many possible solutions to the problem have been offered, so BPA has scheduled this public meeting to work on the issue further.
Note that the meeting is not at BPA, it’s at the Public Power Council Office, Suite 1225, 825 NE Multnomah Blvd. Portland, OR.
A phone bridge is also available: 503-230-5566, code – 7213
For more information: www.bpa.gov/Energy