Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Latest Buzz

Visit SnoPUD for all the latest information about what’s going on at the utility, and see what we’ve been up to.

Here you will find press releases, special reports, our customer newsletter ("Currently"), our customer magazine ("Current") and updates during major storms.

Press Releases

(Current News)

  • Snohomish PUD Receives National Hydropower Association Award

    Fish-Friendly Work Honored

    The National Hydropower Association has honored Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) with a 2017 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters award for its success in providing access to additional fish habitat in the Sultan River Basin, site of the PUD’s Jackson Hydroelectric Project. PUD officials joined with the City of Everett, the Tulalip Tribes and various state and federal resource agencies this week to recognize the successful effort.

    “We’re extremely proud of the way this project came together and happy to see the fish respond so quickly in the way they have,” said PUD Natural Resources Manager Keith Binkley. “This builds on other fish-focused projects we have undertaken under a new federal license, issued in 2011 for the Jackson Project.”

    In late 2016, the PUD opened up six miles of additional fish habitat on the Sultan River by modifying a diversion dam on the upper reach of the river. The dam historically has been used in connection with the local water supply. Within weeks of the project’s completion, coho salmon were detected upstream – for the first time in nearly 100 years! The utility also documented steelhead spawning in the river’s upper reach in spring 2017.

    “This project is a showcase example of what we can do working together to improve the health of a river while still continuing to locally generate hydropower that benefits our communities and reduces our carbon footprint,” said Tom O’Keefe, Chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition.

    The utility has worked closely for many years with the Tulalip Tribes to develop fisheries programs in the Sultan Basin.

    “Salmon are one of the foundations of our culture, so we’re excited to welcome them home,” said Tulalip Chairwoman Marie Zackuse. “This is phenomenal. We raise our hands to everyone who has helped make this possible.”

    Another earlier but significant habitat-related effort was the creation and enhancement of nearly two miles of side channels in the lower Sultan River, which used  engineered log jams to shape habitat and provide safe havens for rearing juvenile salmon.

    The utility also improved conditions for fish by installing a new release valve for water from the Spada Lake Reservoir to provide more suitable water temperatures, implementing new river flow schedules and scheduling special high flow releases on the river to transport wood and rock to shape habitat. The PUD also modified a barrier to fish passage created by a natural landslide along the river, downstream of the diversion dam project.

    The PUD has been recognized by several organizations for its success in developing and operating hydropower projects in ways that protect fish, wildlife, recreation and community resources, including the Puget Sound Regional Council, the American Society of Civil Engineers and Renewable Energy World Magazine.

  • Dept. of Commerce: $7 million in state Clean Energy Fund grants advance microgrid projects at Avista, SnoPUD

    Innovative utilities investing in highly flexible, resilient, efficient electricity grid for the future


    OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Department of Commerce has finalized grants totaling $7 million with two Washington state utilities to further their innovative work on electricity “microgrid” projects. Spokane-based private utility Avista, and the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD), each were awarded $3.5 million from the Washington Clean Energy Fund.

    Their projects, and several others making their way through the grant contract process, represent the next important phase in modernizing our nation’s electric system to meet demand for more efficient, resilient and flexible power management and delivery. Industry experts, engineers and investors are watching closely Washington’s Clean Energy Fund research and development projects. These real-world implementations of some of the first significant new concepts and technologies in a generation will illuminate potential uses, service models and economic benefits for people and communities all over the world.

    “Washington is a state of leaders who share a vision of sustainable growth and prosperity inherent in the low-carbon economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “I applaud our utilities and their partners for investing in these innovative projects that will secure our energy future.”

    Creating a “shared energy economy”

    >Avista (NYSE: AVA) will pilot a “Shared Energy Economy” model that allows various energy assets -- from solar panels and battery storage to traditional utility assets -- to be shared and used for multiple purposes, including system efficiency and grid resiliency. By doing this, benefits to both the consumer and utility can be demonstrated. 

    One aspect of the Avista project includes exploring energy sharing among buildings. For example, rooftop solar panels and battery storage units would be installed on two buildings. These buildings could be connected to a building energy management system that could automatically sense which building needs power and which building has sufficient power to share its solar or stored battery power. Since Avista can also tap into this system, the addition of shared assets allows the utility to better use the existing resources. Ultimately, the consumer and utility both benefit in this Shared Energy Economy model.

    “Creating a ‘Shared Energy Economy’ model is the latest example of Avista’s 128-year history of innovation. In a ‘sharing economy’ resources are shared, allowing customers to access goods without ownership. For example, if you rent a Zipcar, you can pay to use a car when you need it, instead of owning a personal car. We are excited to explore this concept as it relates to energy,” said Heather Rosentrater, Avista vice president of energy delivery. “We know that the energy landscape will continue to change, and as a utility, we need to ensure our system will be flexible enough to meet the changing expectations and future needs of consumers.”

    Testing small-scale renewables and disaster response

    SnoPUD will build a Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center in Arlington. The facility, currently in the design phase, will demonstrate how evolving energy technologies – including energy storage, a microgrid system, small-scale renewable energy and an electric vehicle-to-grid system – can work together to improve grid resiliency, disaster recovery and renewable energy integration. It also will include a technology center to educate industry and the community about these technologies.

    “Beyond the considerable value this facility provides for research of clean energy technologies, we will also test its viability to serve as a critical backup system for PUD operations in the event of a major disaster,” said SnoPUD CEO and General Manager Craig Collar. “We commend the state for supporting innovation in the energy sector and positioning our region as a leader.”

    The utility has already installed the largest flow battery system in North America, using batteries and energy storage solutions developed by Washington researchers and companies with support from prior Clean Energy Fund programs.

    “Our state’s investments in clean energy are helping strengthen communities all across the state,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. ”As our strengths in information technology and cloud computing converge in new energy systems and operations, technologies developed and deployed in Washington are positioned to sell into global markets, creating new jobs and business opportunities here.”

    Since 2013, the Washington State Clean Energy fund has invested over $72 million and leveraged another $128.7 million in matching funds from industry partners. Washington state’s numerous clean technology researchers, companies, investors and public and private utilities are at the forefront of energy innovation in the United States. Learn more at

    Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

  • PUD Honors Local Students in Art & Photo Contests

    Snohomish County PUD today announced the names of 17 local students who won awards in the utility’s 2017 art and photography competitions. The contests are designed to engage students and the community in energy topics. 

    Art Contest Winners

    The art contest challenged students to create a poster with the theme of “Powerful Electrical Inventions.” Twelve students won awards as follows:

    Haven Parks Grade 1 English Crossing Elementary
    Calvin Irby Grade 3 Index Elementary
    Athena Soloman Grade 3 Index Elementary
    Heidi Ryu Grade 4 Silver Lake Elementary 
    Emma Schulmeister Grade 4 Kellogg Marsh Elementary
    Ashten Buchanan Grade 5 Madrona K-8
    Citlalli Cornejo Grade 8 Immaculate Concpetion & Our Lady of Perpetual Help
    Lucas Mitchell Grade 8 Lakewood Middle School
    Cordelia Notbohm Grade 8 Valley View Middle School
    Danielle Hegarty Grade 10 Glacier Peak High School
    Julian Blackstone Grade 11 Glacier Peak High School
    Chloe Keenan Grade 12 Sultan High School

    Photography Contest

    For the PUD photography contest, high school students were challenged to capture the theme of “Energy in Action” in a photograph. Five students won awards, as follows:

    Sami Reynolds Grade 11 Snohomish High School
    Aris Vanslageren Grade 11 Stanwood High School
    Haylee Felker Grade 12 Lake Stevens High School
    Taylor Langager Grade 12 Lynnwood High School
    Rita Sakharov Grade 12 Lynnwood High School

    The winners of the competitions will be recognized at the May 9, 2017, PUD Board of Commissioners meeting. The art and photography contest winners’ entries will be on display through May 12, 2017, in the lobby of the PUD’s Everett headquarters at 2320 California Street.  They also are posted on the PUD website, click here to view them.

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