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Energy Department Honors California and Washington Utilities with 2013 Public Power Wind Award

June 18, 2013

In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above approach to American energy, the Energy Department today recognized utilities in California and Washington with the 2013 Public Power Wind award. Southern California Public Power Authority and Snohomish County Public Utility District received awards today at the American Public Power Association's (APPA) annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, for outstanding efforts to accelerate the use of wind energy.

In 2003, APPA and the Energy Department's Wind Powering America initiative created the Public Power Wind award to recognize and encourage community-owned electric utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power in the United States. The Public Power Wind award supports the Obama Administration's efforts to increase domestic energy production and deliver clean, renewable energy to families and businesses across the nation.

Nominees for this award were judged on high-performing executive leadership, creative marketing approaches, innovative projects, and benefits to customers. A panel of experts from the wind industry, federal and state government, the Department's national laboratories, and public power agencies selected this year's award winners from the nominated APPA members. Now in its eleventh year, the annual Public Power Wind Award recognizes APPA members in the categories of "Member System" and "Joint Action Agency." This year's winners include:

Snohomish County Public Utility District received the Member System award for its participation in the Wind Integration Forum—a joint initiative led by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and the Bonneville Power Administration addressing wind energy and hydroelectric generation in the region and integrating these resources into the electric grid. As part of the forum, Snohomish is one of two regional utilities to participate in a pilot program in which both utilities provide twice an hour scheduling of wind transmission, increased from the standard once-an-hour schedule grid operators have used for decades. More frequent communication between wind suppliers and grid operators allows the northwest electrical system to better adjust to wind fluctuations and adds greater flexibility to the grid. Snohomish also installed two micro-wind turbines at its operation center to collect data on new small-scale generation and streamlined contracting for customer projects of less than two-megawatt capacity. Thanks in part to these efforts, Snohomish generates nearly 8% of their energy supply from wind power—more than any other public utility in Washington.

Southern California Public Power Authority received the Joint Action Agency award for its use of innovative financing to aggregate more than 710 megawatts of installed wind capacity. By carefully structuring the power purchase agreements across five wind projects, Southern California secured energy prices for several participating municipal systems at substantially lower costs.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality and economic vitality. Learn more about the Department's efforts to research, test, develop and deploy innovative wind energy technologies.

—Julie Jones