Power Lines Blog

Back in the Cornhusker State

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I traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, for the annual meeting of the Nebraska Public Power District. NPPD’s Pat Pope made a point that I agree with — while traders thrive on market price volatility, which increases their profits, public power is in it for the long run and having a diversified portfolio of generation acts as a physical hedge against future price increases.

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Public Power in the Capital of the Public Power State

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I was back in Nebraska — the only state in the Union that is all public power and cooperative electric utilities. I spoke about the impact of the Clean Power Plan. "...policymakers and regulators back inside the D.C. Beltway just assume that these changes can magically happen, and often do not consider the very practical operational issues that can arise." I also got to hear about the joint training program with the local community college to train generation plant operators.

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Public Power Road Show: Sue Kelly’s World Tour Brings APPA Home

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Public Utilities Fortnightly interviewed Sue Kelly as she wound up her first year as president and CEO of the American Public Power Association. During the past year, Kelly has embarked on what she calls her “World Tour,” going everywhere from Wisconsin, to South Carolina, to Georgia, Texas, Utah, and you-name-it. Kelly also talks about RTOs, capacity markets, and helping the American public understand public power.

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Upping Public Power’s Mutual Aid Game

Mutual aid is neighbors helping neighbors restore power as quickly and safely as possible in the aftermath of a disaster. Public power utilities have strong emergency response processes, with coordination among federal, state, and private-sector first responders. In October 2012, when Superstorm Sandy caused widespread damage, public power’s response was immediate and far-reaching.

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Cultivating Our Solar Gardens

WPPI has a new pilot project to develop community solar gardens — good for the residential customers who subscribe to a panel, since they do not have the hassle of having solar panels installed on their own house, but get the benefit of locally-produced solar power—and good for the utilities, since they can operate and maintain the garden, thus better managing the reliability and rate impacts of the facility.

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Teach Them Public Power and Learn XBoxes

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Public power systems need to engage with their communities and highlight their contributions. But every bit as important is the education of our future retail customers. These young people need to understand just what it takes to produce and deliver their power. Kicking off that process with a “teachable moment” in the 5th grade is a great way to start.

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Public Power Leaders “Find a Way”: APPA 2014 National Conference Recap

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The American Public Power Association held its 2014 National Conference in Denver from June 13-18. Before it gets too far into the rearview mirror I wanted to say what a great experience it was. We heard expert speakers discuss cybersecurity, the political climate, and the economic outlook.

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From Alex & Gandalf: Wisdom as We Fight Public Power’s Greatest Battles

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Right now we are facing substantial challenges, including threats to the federal power system, wholesale market dysfunction, distributed generation, climate change, and grid security. And as we take these challenges on, we should be guided, as Alex was, by what is right for those we serve. By what will keep the lights on, the rates reasonable, and the environment protected.

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Public Power: Locally Grown, Community Owned

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Close to 2,000 cities and towns in the U.S. have public power — electricity that comes from a community-owned utility. Public power utilities have no stockholders and are driven by the singular mission to serve their customers. They measure success by how much money stays within the community, not by how much profit goes to often remote stockholders. There are no divided loyalties.

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