Commission summary, 6/28/2022 — Need for solar, wind, natural gas in Grant PUD's energy forecast

Grant PUD commissioners Tuesday learned how the utility is considering options to meet its long-term power needs during an Integrated Resource Plan presentation.

By state law, electric utilities must develop a comprehensive plan with five- and 10-year estimates projecting the mix of power generation and resources to meet the needs of their customers.

Grant PUD continues to evaluate whether building a nuclear energy plant is viable. Such an investment would likely not produce electricity for a decade or more.

Grant PUD used a computer modeling service to develop a proposed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that looks at projected growth in the county's demand for electricity, requirements of the state's Clean Energy Transformation Act, renewable portfolio standards, the risk of low-water flows in the Columbia River, changing power markets, adequacy of power resources, how power would be delivered and the least-expensive, robust solution.

The modeling, given all those variables, shows that by 2025, the utility will need to bring in additional power resources to meet customers' needs. When that happens, the model recommended that additional power resources the utility should consider include solar, solar hybrid (solar coupled with batter storage), wind and power generated by natural gas. While carbon-emitting natural gas power carries a penalty that would be imposed by the state, limited amounts of it when every other generating resource is inadequate could still prove to be a viable option.

Wesley Cole, project specialist for Grant PUD Wholesale Marketing, informed the commissioners that the model is a projection of potential resources and is not a plan for procuring power. Presentation starts on page 87 of this document. Go to 3:46:23 to hear the recording.)

Grant PUD will hold a public hearing on the proposed Integrated Resource Plan on July 26 at 1 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Ephrata PUD building at 30 C Street SW. 

Commissioners also:

  • Unanimously approved a motion authorizing the general manager/CEO on behalf of Grant PUD to execute a contract with MacKay & Sposito for a variety of power-production-related services, including dam safety, electrical engineering and consulting. The $5 million contract's completion date is Dec. 31, 2027. Commissioners and staff discussed this contract extensively at their June 14, 2022 meeting. For more information, see pages 8-9 of the commission packet.

  • Unanimously approved a motion authorizing the general manager/CEO on behalf of Grant PUD to execute a $1.12 million contract with Maxim Crane L.P. to buy a 90-ton mobile crane for use at all Grant PUD hydro projects. The crane replaces an existing crane that has experienced many mechanical problems, causing work delays and obliging rental crane services and personnel. Senior Manager of Power Production Dale Campbell told commissioners that an internal business analysis showed the new crane would yield a return on investment in less than 5 years. The crane will be delivered to Grant PUD by Aug. 31, 2022. View the full presentation on pages 28-35 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 1:22:02 on the commission audio.

  • Heard from Senior Manager of Internal Services Fallon Long that her group expects to end the year on budget. Key initiatives this year include using existing GPS data on Grant PUD vehicles to track their use for ways to seek fuel economy. The group is also beginning to evaluate the potential feasibility and impact of electric vehicles in future Grant PUD fleets. View the full presentation on pages 36-59 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 2:06:26 on the commission audio.

  • Heard an update from Senior Manager of Employee Experience Tom Stredwick about his group's ongoing efforts to prepare employees for future job opportunities through expanded training and education programs and on-the-job satisfaction. View the full presentation on pages 60-86 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 2:27:55 on the commission audio

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