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Press Releases

(Current News)

  • PUD’s Planet Power to Fund Four New Solar Projects
    7/17/2014

    More Local Solar Energy on the Way

    Several thousand Snohomish County PUD customers are supporting solar energy by participating in the utility’s voluntary Planet Power green energy program. The PUD is finalizing plans for four additional projects to be installed this year. With the new installations, the program will support 29 solar arrays throughout Snohomish County. This is the sixth year of grants under the program.

    “Our Planet Power program is an ideal way for our customers to support the growth and use of local solar energy,” said Leslie Moynihan, the PUD’s manager for the green energy program. “Everyone benefits as the entire community can learn more about this energy source.”

    The four 2014 projects are:

    The Camano Center:
    A 9.8 kilowatt installation, the unit will allow a local elementary school to access the monitoring station for educational opportunities. It will be the first Planet Power unit on Camano Island.

    Valley View Middle School (Snohomish School District):
    A 9.9 kilowatt system, it will include a real-time monitoring feature that will be used with the school’s existing renewable energy curriculum. The school was built “solar ready” in 2012.

    Work Opportunities (Lynnwood):
    This 9.8 kilowatt system is a combination rooftop- and awning-mounted array that will maximize visibility and energy production. The non-profit provides vocational services to adults with disabilities.

    Marysville YMCA (YMCA of Snohomish County):
    A 9.9 kilowatt system, this unit will get good visibility on a high-traffic building. It will be the first Planet Power installation in Marysville and on a Snohomish County YMCA facility.

    The projects were selected through a grant-application process that evaluated technical feasibility, site visibility and cost-competitiveness, the availability of matching funds and applicant’s outreach/educational plans.

    Customers can enroll in Planet Power at any time. They can either opt to contribute $3 or more each month as part of their utility bill payment or make a one-time payment of $15 or more. Every dollar contributed goes directly to operate the program, educate the community and increase the level of energy that is produced from renewable sources. Customers can enroll online by clicking here, in person at any PUD office or by calling the utility’s Energy Hotline at 425-783-1700.

  • Snohomish PUD Awards Businesses in Energy-Saving Competition
    7/11/2014

    Sixteen Businesses Reduce Waste in Stanwood Energy Challenge

    They’ve caught the energy-saving bug in Stanwood. Sixteen local businesses, in two teams of eight, just completed the PUD’s five-month Energy Challenge to see which team could save the most energy. In a neck-and-neck contest that came down to the final days of June, the C-Hawks team edged out the Watt Watchers by cutting overall energy use by 11.4 percent. The second place team achieved nearly the same savings at 11.1 percent. The PUD recognized all the participants during an awards ceremony at the Stanwood City Council meeting on July 10.

    “The main goal of the competition was to learn how much small businesses can save through employee actions and low-cost equipment changes,” said PUD Utility Analyst Laura McCrae. “We built some fun into the competition and engaged the local community so they’d also learn more about eliminating energy waste in their homes and businesses.”

    As part of the Energy Challenge, businesses were equipped with real-time energy dashboards to track electricity usage, both at their individual work sites and as a team. On-site signage also helped educate customers and raise community awareness.

    Individual Successes

    The “Hare” Award, for the biggest early saver, was given to Northwest Veterinary Clinic, which cut use by 20 percent in the first month. The “Tortoise” Award, for the biggest late saver, was presented to Designs Northwest, which saved 38 percent in the final month. The “Most Valuable Saver” award went to Windermere, due to the staff’s impressive efforts to troubleshoot energy issues with lighting and thermostats.

    “Every penny counts – anything from the doors being sealed, to your lighting, to your neon signs,” said Jose Amador, owner of Amigo Mexican Restaurant. “There’s so many ways to save money that if you’re not looking at it, it’ll literally take away your profits.”

    The Stanwood Energy Challenge, a behavior based energy efficiency pilot program, was funded in part by the Bonneville Power Administration.

    “BPA appreciates Snohomish PUD, the City of Stanwood and most importantly the businesses for participating in the Stanwood Energy Challenge,” said Richard Genécé, vice president of Energy Efficiency for the Bonneville Power Administration. “Competitions like this help us better understand how to measure behavior-based energy efficiency and show us there’s plenty of energy savings waiting to be had through behavior change in the Northwest.”

    Snohomish PUD selected PECI (www.peci.org) to provide pilot design and implementation. Lucid (www.luciddesigngroup.com), through its Building Dashboard software platform, provided businesses detailed insight into their real-time electricity usage and tracked the teams’ success during the competition. The City of Stanwood, the Stanwood Chamber of Commerce and the Stanwood Area Merchants Association also offered ongoing support to engage local businesses and the greater community.

    The two competing teams were comprised of eight businesses each:

    Watt Watchers Team C-Hawks Team
    • Crowley Dental
    • Designs Northwest
    • Dos Reales Taqueria
    • Northwest Veterinary Clinic
    • Stanwood Hardware
    • State Farm Insurance
    • The Chatterbox
    • Windermere Real Estate
    • Ace Hardware of Stanwood
    • Amigo Family Mexican Restaurant
    • Coastal Community Bank
    • John L Scott Real Estate
    • Pelletier + Schaar
    • RE/MAX Associate Brokers
    • Thomas & Associates Insurance
    • Tony Hewlett Family Dentistry

    To learn more about the community competition, visit www.StanwoodChallenge.com.  The website includes energy-saving resources, as well as testimonials and videos featuring many of the participating businesses.

  • Snohomish PUD Nets $7.3 Million from State Clean Energy Fund
    7/8/2014

    A New Model for Energy Storage

    Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) will receive $7.3 million in matching funds from the Washington Clean Energy Fund. Using the funding, announced this week by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the PUD will implement a comprehensive program of energy storage and controls integration.

    The PUD and its principal partner, 1Energy Systems, a Seattle-based company, are building the energy storage systems based on the Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA), which provides a standard, non-proprietary and scalable approach to energy storage. The PUD’s energy storage program, which forges partnerships with major U.S. and international business partners, will include two large-scale lithium ion batteries, one built by LG Chem and a second by Mitsubishi-GS Yuasa. Both lithium ion batteries will utilize a Parker Hannifin Power Conversion System.  Additionally, the PUD will deploy multiple advanced vanadium flow batteries, which will be built by UniEnergy Technologies, based in Mukilteo, Wash.

    Building on these elements, the PUD will deploy an integrated, scalable, optimized control system to manage the energy storage systems (ESS) in an automated fashion. Within each ESS, safe, secure monitoring and control will be provided by the 1Energy Intelligent Controller™ (1E-IC), state-of-the-art software which also securely connects each ESS with utility control, scheduling and optimization platforms. This control system infrastructure is the next critical technology for utilities and the energy storage industry, advancing from merely demonstrating individual energy storage projects to creating an easily deployable, scalable solution that is integrated with other electrical grid assets.

    “With this funding, we’re able to significantly ramp up our efforts to develop standardized and scalable energy storage systems,” said Snohomish County PUD CEO Steve Klein. “Working with several public and private partners, it’s our goal to transform the marketplace and make energy storage economically and operationally viable within the energy industry.”

    The collaboration will produce state-of-the-art systems, bringing together major equipment and software companies to establish the appropriate industry standards and interfaces. The approach is much different than other energy storage projects in the past and is expected to result in the expanded application of plug-and-play type energy storage systems to help solve the expanding needs of today’s electric grid, which depends more on intermittent resources such as wind and solar.

    Since wind and solar power generation is irregular, and not always available during peak energy demand hours, energy storage can make clean energy available wherever and whenever it is needed.  While clean energy generation costs continue to decline, energy storage is the critical element needed to foster renewable energy growth.

    MESA Project Goals

    Key goals of the MESA project include:

    • Developing standard electrical and communication interfaces to connect batteries, power converters and software components into modular energy storage systems
    • Helping to foster a robust industry ecosystem of modular energy storage component suppliers. By sharing their learning with other electric utilities and technology suppliers, MESA Project partners are advancing a new, component-based approach to energy storage that gives electric utilities more choice, and enables battery, power converter and software manufacturers to reach more customers while focusing on their core competencies.
    • For more information on the MESA Alliance, see www.mesastandards.org

    Project Partners

    • 1Energy Systems, principal partner and architect of MESA and the 1Energy Intelligent ControllerTM (1E-IC) to manage the energy storage systems in an automated fashion
    • Alstom Grid, supplier of the PUD’s EMS, SCADA & DMS platforms
    • LG Chem, supplier of lithium ion battery
    • Mitsubishi-GS Yuasa, supplier of lithium ion battery
    • UniEnergy Technologies, supplier of vanadium flow battery
    • Parker Hannifin, provider of the MESA-compliant power conversion system
    • University of Washington, research expertise in power systems and computer science
    • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, research expertise in power systems
  • PUD Customers Generate Solar, Get Great Incentives
    6/4/2014

    Power of the Sun

    Snohomish PUD customers are turning to solar energy like never before. More than 450 solar energy systems have been installed at homes and businesses served by the utility.

    “In the last two years, we’ve seen prices for solar units come down considerably,” said PUD Energy Efficiency Program Manager Leslie Moynihan. “Systems have dropped in price by as much as 40 percent.”

    In addition to lower prices, solar enthusiasts can take advantage of federal tax credits and state production incentives to help pay off their investments in solar much quicker. The PUD also offers cash incentives and educational support through its Solar Express program.

    PUD customers who’ve installed solar energy systems also like how they’re helping the environment by generating clean energy.

    “For me, solar is simply the future of power,” said Fred Westergaard of Camano Island. “And Snohomish PUD was easy to work with during my installation.”

    PUD Solar Express

    A range of incentives and educational support offered through Solar Express make the process easy for customers. 

    Residential customers can qualify for up to $2,500 for solar photovoltaic systems and commercial customers can qualify for up to $10,000. All customers with electric water heaters can qualify for a $500 incentive for solar hot water systems. Customers may also qualify for additional federal tax credits and state production incentives.

    Solar Express is one of the ways the PUD is promoting clean, locally-generated renewable resources. For more information, including qualifications, call the PUD Energy Hotline at 425-783-1700 or click here.

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