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PUD 3 in compliance with energy act

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Mason County PUD 3 is in compliance and on schedule to meet renewable energy and conservation requirements as outlined by state law, according to the state Auditor's Office.

"We were very pleased," PUD 3 Manager Annette Creekpaum said.

The auditor's office released a report last week on the utility's energy conservation from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2013.

In November 2006, Washington voters approved Initiative 937, known as the Energy Independence Act.

The act requires public utility districts with more than 25,000 customers to purchase renewable energy on a set schedule. Mason County PUD 3 is one of 12 such utilities in the state.

The act, outlined in RCW 19.285.040, requires that renewable energy sources should account for 3 percent of utilities' energy by Jan. 1, 2012, 9 percent by Jan. 1, 2016, and 15 percent by Jan. 1, 2020.

Utility districts can meet these requirements either by purchasing qualifying renewable energy, such as wind or solar power, or renewable energy credits (RECS).

When a utility that owns a renewable energy source, such as a wind farm, and makes more renewable energy than they need, they can either sell the energy, or the credits, Creekpaum said.

"The RECS have a value and the energy has a value," she said.

PUD 3 met its 2012 goal mostly through buying renewable energy, Creekpaum said.

Specifically, the PUD bought wind power from the Nine Canyon Wind Project and the White Creek Wind Project, and has purchased RECs. The PUD 3 Johns Prairie Operations Center also has a small solar array atop one of its buildings.

To meet its 9 percent goal by 2016, the PUD will likely buy more energy credits in addition to looking into additional sources of renewable energy, Creekpaum said.

The act also requires qualifying PUDs to create and meet energy conservation targets.

For the 2012-2013 biennium surveyed in this audit the PUD 3 had a goal of conserving more than 10.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.

The PUD nearly doubled its target and conserved more than 19.7 million kWh per year.

"I think part of it was because the law was new and there were a lot of questions of how to go about this in the most effective way possible, (the PUD 3) didn't want to fall short, so we aimed really high," said Justin Holzgrove, PUD 3 conservation manager.

It was particularly difficult for the PUD to find places to conserve energy, since it has had an energy conservation program in place since 1983, Creekpaum said.

The PUD's conservation department worked with companies to install more efficient lighting and encourages customers to install energy efficient technology, such as ductless heat pumps, insulation and duct sealing, Holzgrove said.

"Duct sealing is not a very exciting thing, but it makes a big difference for utility bills," he said.

PUD 3 also works with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance to encourage companies to make affordable energy efficient products.

The PUD's conservation target for the 2014-2015 biennium is 5,791,000 kWh per year.

Energy saving tips from the PUD are available at

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Original Publication Date: August 28, 2014

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