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INFORMATION SUMMARIES

Below are summaries of various energy resource topics.  Energy resource information is changing frequently.  To keep our visitors up-to-date easily and quickly, we'll be posting any new and important information about specific topics on our Top Features articles on our DPU homepage.  

COUNTY-OWNED GENERATION RESOURCES

In 1985 the DPU and the Department of Energy formed a power pool through an Electric Coordination Agreement (ECA). This allowed the two entities to blend resources. Los Alamos County's resources under the ECA are as follows:

    • San Juan Generating Station Unit 4 (coal, 36 megawatts)
    • Laramie River Station entitlement (coal, 10 megawatts)
    • El Vado hydroelectric facility (renewable hydropower, 8 megawatts)
    • Abiquiu hydroelectric facility (renewable hydropower, 18 megawatts)
    • Los Alamos' Western Area Power Administration entitlement (renewable hydropower, 1 megawatt)
    • Photovoltaic array on East Jemez landfill site (renewable solar, 1 megawatt)
    • County transmission arrangements
    • County purchased power contracts.

SAN JUAN GENERATING STATION RESTRUCTURING 2015

DPU is one of nine owners in the San Juan Generating Station, a four unit coal-fired plant in the Farmington area. Specifically, DPU owns a 7.2% share in unit 4 and 2% in the entire plant. To meet the State Implementation Plan (SIP) which was approved to reduce regional haze, environmental upgrades were performed on units 1 and 4 in 2016.  The other two (units 2 and 3) will be permanently taken off-line on December 31, 2017.

Per a 2015 agreement to restructure the ownership of the Plant after units 2 and 3 are taken off-line the following will occur:

  • Four owners will leave the plant and a new owner will join, adjusting the number of owners from nine to six;
  • So as not to financially harm the remaining owners (which includes DPU) from the restructuring, the leaving owners agree to provide the remaining owners a demand charge and a restructuring fee. The leaving owners will also absorb a portion of the remaining owners' share of O&M expenses.  
  • DPU’s ownership in the plant will be adjusted from 2% to a little more than 4%; and
  • Emissions from the Plant will be reduced by more than 50%;

Unchanged:

  • The term of the contract will still expire on June 30, 2022, although DPU may have the option to extend the contract beyond 2022 should the County determine that this is in its best interest; and
  • DPU’s ownership in unit 4 will remain at 7.2%

See the Document Library below to a power point presentation that summarizes the  2015 Restructuring Agreements.

FUTURE ENERGY RESOURCES (FER) - COMMITTEE, POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION

Visit our Top Features article on our home page for the latest FER news and information.  Until the FER implementation plan is complete, that is where we will continue to post new information to keep you updated.

The electric power industry is changing dramatically to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse” gases. The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) established in 2013 a goal for the Department of Public Utilities “to be a carbon neutral electric provider by 2040.”

To assist in reaching that goal, BPU formed a Future Energy Resources ad hoc citizens advisory committee (FER) to (1) Examine and recommend a definition of carbon neutrality for the County, (2) Study and recommend future clean energy generation resources, and (3) Study and recommend policy toward distributed generation in the County.

In July 2015, the FER Committee presented their final report to the BPU.  In January 2016, the BPU adopted a Strategic Policy for Electrical Energy Resources and a definition for carbon neutrality.  In March, they adopted a Strategic Policy for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and Rate Structure. The BPU also directed the Utilities Manager to schedule and develop a preliminary implementation plan for the five highest priority items from the adopted FER recommendations, to be followed by a completed integrated implementation plan no later than June 2017. 

Given the complexity of the various recommendations, it is expected that plans will continually be reviewed and adjusted as more information, conditions and costs become available. Department staff will report regularly to the BPU as efforts progress.

See the Document Library below to see specific documents related to the Future Energy Resources Committee.

CARBON FREE POWER PROJECT (CFPP) - UAMPS SMALL MODULAR NUCLEAR REACTOR (SMR)

Visit our Top Features article on our home page for the latest CFPP news and information.  Until this project is concluded, that is where we will continue to post new information to keep you updated.

Los Alamos County is a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). UAMPS, NuScale and Energy Northwest entered into a teaming agreement to investigate the viability of developing a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project in the State of Idaho. This is known as the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP). The purpose and need of the CFPP is to provide for additional mid-sized baseload electrical generating capacity to meet the expected needs of UAMPS’ members. In August 2015, the Los Alamos Power Pool entered into a siting agreement with UAMPS and committed to an expenditure for the initial siting phase work.

For more information you may also visit the UAMPS CFPP website. http://www.uamps.com/index.php/38-items/24-carbon-free-power-project

 

SMART GRID

From 2009 - 2015, Los Alamos County partnered with the Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the State of New Mexico, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on the U.S.-Japan Demonstration Smart Grid Project in New Mexico.  It was the first smart grid project to demonstrate high penetration of renewable energy on a microgrid to meet a residential community's needs.

Utilizing a one megawatt solar array and large-scale lead acid and sodium-sulfur batteries, NEDO, DPU and LANL demonstrated photovoltaic penetration levels ranging from 25 to 50 percent on a residential neighborhood of 1,600 homes.  

Electric loads were balanced and output fluctuations were absorbed through a Micro Energy Management System (Micro-EMS).  Additionally, the Micro-EMS had forecasting and scheduling abilities, making the renewable energy from the photovoltaic array firm and dispatchable.

Smart meters were installed on the 1,600 homes in the microgrid.  Residential volunteers agreed to participate in a demand response study with Kyoto University, testing volunteers' response to varying price signals.   

The project also featured a demonstration smart house that was tied to the microgrid.   Highly intelligent Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) communicated within the house and with the electric grid to optimize the home's energy usage, allowing electric demand to be responsive to smart grid signals.  

 At the end of the NEDO demonstration period, the equipment was transferred to the DPU, Currently, DPU provides all its customers with electricity from the utility-scale solar array located at the East Jemez landfill site. The Micro EMS schedules the charging and discharging of the battery systems to reduce peak loads. 

Read the Final Japan & U.S. Demonstration Project Report






ENERGY RESOURCES DOCUMENT LIBRARY

To view the many documents and reports that help the DPU make informed decision about our energy resources,  please peruse our document library below.