The Energy Department on June 18 recognized utilities in California and Washington with the 2013 Public Power Wind award. Washington State's 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 to address wind energy and hydroelectric generation in the region and the integration of these resources into the electric grid. As part of the forum, Snohomish is one of two regional utilities to pilot a program that provides twice-an-hour scheduling of wind transmission—increased from the standard once-an-hour scheduling—to allow the grid operators to better respond to wind fluctuations. In addition, the 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 Public Power Wind award was created in 2003 by the Energy Department's Wind Powering America initiative and the American Public Power Association (APPA) to recognize and encourage community-owned electric utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power in the United States. A panel of experts evaluate the award nominees for high-performing executive leadership, creative marketing approaches, innovative projects, and benefits to customers. The winners were announced at the APPA's annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. See the Energy Department Progress Alert .