As a small electric utility, with fewer than twenty-five thousand electric meters in service, Douglas PUD is exempt from Chapter 19.29A of the Revised Code of Washington which requires large electric utilities to offer retail electricity customers a voluntary option to purchase qualified alternative energy. Even so, the option of purchasing alternative energy resources has been available to Douglas County PUD customers since 1997 when Rate Schedule 5 was implemented.
Wells Hydroelectric Project is the most environmentally responsible hydroelectric project on the Columbia River. However, it does not meet the legislature’s definition of qualified hydropower. According to Washington State Law, qualified alternative energy resources include wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas, wave or tidal action, wastewater treatment gas, qualified hydropower or certain biomass energy production methods. Qualified hydropower is energy produced as a result of modernizations or upgrades to hydropower facilities made after June 1, 1998 that have been demonstrated to reduce the mortality of anadromous fish or from hydropower facilities located where fish are not present.
Your Douglas PUD is aggressively investigating alternative energy resources in Douglas County.
- Wind power is the second most cost effective renewable generation technology. The drawback to wind generation is that it is impossible to control when the wind is going to blow. We believe that commercially sized wind farms working in concert with our hydropower resource will provide a viable electric supply for Douglas County. In addition to our pursuit of wind generation in Douglas County, Douglas PUD is a participant in Energy Northwest’s Nine Canyons Wind Project. When this project comes on line in September 2002, our share will be adequate to cover about two percent of Douglas County’s electric load.
- Douglas PUD is also working toward the installation of solar photovoltaic cells at the East Wenatchee headquarters. This installation will help us assess the viability of integrating solar power into Douglas County’s electric supply.
Douglas PUD is well on its way to surpassing the State’s requirements for alternative renewable energy generation in a cost effective manner.
Helping Douglas County
Douglas County PUD Commissioners, acting as the Board of the Electric Utility Rural Economic Development Revolving Fund, considered $98,000 in requests from Douglas County entities. According to RCW 82.16, Douglas PUD is able to receive a revenue tax credit up to $25,000 when it provides funding to rural communities for projects “designed to achieve job creation or business retention, to add or upgrade non-electrical infrastructure, to add or upgrade health and safety facilities, to accomplish energy and water use efficiency improvements, including renewable energy development, or to add or upgrade emergency services” up to a maximum of $50,000. The Board of the Electric Utility Rural Economic Development Revolving Fund approved the following eight grants:
- Douglas County Fire District # 1: $2,400 for two pagers and a communication base.
- Douglas County Fire District # 5: $1,500 to purchase four pagers for the fire officers.
- Douglas County Fire District # 7: $15,000 to equip a new fire truck.
- Douglas County Fire District # 8: $10,000 to equip a new fire truck.
- Douglas County Hospital District # 2: $2,625 to purchase seven pagers.
- Mansfield Volunteer Fire and Ambulance: $7,500 for two new stretchers.
- Nifty Theatre: $975 for building insulation.
- Town of Waterville: $10,000 to purchase a thermal swimming pool cover.