Northwest Power and Conservation Council : Oct 15/16 2019 Meeting

My informal notes:

Power Committee – Oct 15 2019 8:30am Pacific time – Hoh Room

Update on Progress of GENESYS Redevelopment

NWPCC has developed a finer grained flow modelling system called, GENESYS that aims to either replace or at least complement the venerable HYDSYM?


Note: I cannot find reference to HYDSYM, though I did find reference to HSPF.


  • modeling hourly constraints for thinking about markets
  • are currently calibrating the model with BPA and other stakeholders
  • aggregate hydro -> plant specific dispatch (shape matters)
  • previous model was all in FORTRAN, moving to modernize the model (language?)
  • lots of non-power constraints in model, e.g. fish
  • vetting with river operators
  • model tries to emulate time frames for markets

One key difference that was discussed at length was the difference in the monthly model of HYDSYM vs. the moving to the finer grained weekly model.

  • goal: verify that GENESYS results match HYDSYM, which is made a little tricky b/c weekly boundaries do not always fall on monthly boundaries, therefore some interpolation is required in GENESYS

Council member questions


  • are/is GENESYS using the same or similar constraints as BPA?
  • will the results be radically different than BPA vs CRSO vs NWPP?


  • No. Results will be roughly the same, modulo minor variance introduced by interpolations.


  • KSFD
  • Aurora
  • CRSO
  • SCCT
  • GRAC : generating resources advisory committee
  • NWEC : northwest energy coalition


The Seventh Power Plan was referenced repeatedly:

Load Forecast

Load forecast based on:

  • population growth and migration
  • behind the meter solar
  • transport / EV penetration -> results in the load forecast

Data sources

  • ACS data for population flows (subset of census)
  • Global Insight (apparently this is used all throughout the industry for population modelling)
  • IHS-Global Insights : population growth is main driver
  • EIA : energy information administration : annual energy outlook
  • SEDS : state energy data systems
  • NREL : system advisory model
  • Energy2020 : load forecasting tool
  • “cogen” : affects energy (aMW) and peak (MW)
  • forecast an aggressive build out of solar: ~5 MW additional capacity from 2025 and 2041
  • solar will be very useful for peak load reduction in summer

However, a council member questioned this last point, pointing out that the supply and demand are offset by several hours in Idaho and the response was that the model was aggregated at a monthly level. I find this somewhat strange and IMHO this analysis relies on the supply and demand being matched, either naturally or via some sort of load shift (hydro/battery/etc.).

EV Transport
  • late afternoon peak as drivers arrive home and charge vehicles
  • expect an increased electric load from EVs
  • low auto turnover rate will limit velocity of EV penetration
  • charging profiles from AVISTA
  • drivers : population growth, vehicle retirement, vehicle efficiency
  • network transmission costs vs p2p
  • look at the interconnection queue

Solar, Battery Storage, and Solar + Battery Storage Reference Plants

This presentation was far too detailed for me to take notes. Hopefully the slide decks are available.

Council Meeting – Oct 15, 2019 1:30pm Pacific time – Nooksack Room

Presentation by the Orca Task Force: Dr. Les Purce and Stephanie Solien, Co-Chairs of the ORCA Task Force.

I did not take notes on this, suffice to say, the situation is looking really really bad for both Salmonids and Orcas.


  • lots of variability, but the trends are
    • warmer weather, less cloud cover? esp summers, leading to increased evapotranspiration, esp in summers
    • shift in precip from snow to rain
    • shift in precip to wetter winters (rain) and drier summers
    • precip changes result in changes to the flow curves of rivers
      • less snow release dominant
      • more rain release dominant
      • release times shifted towards wetter winters
  • overall, these systemic changes are going to occur slowly over the next 50 years with lots of variability

My comments: if you look at the cold water refuges plan and the forecast for the change in precip patterns, you should probably be alarmed. Salmonids like cool rivers and tend to die in water that is too warm. We are def looking at lower spring flows which are also warmer. Uh oh.

I chatted with Dr.Bond after his presentation and suggested that one could misinterpret his message as, “we do not have to worry about climate change in the PNW”. He said that is definitely not the message he is intending to deliver. We also chatted about a new term called, ‘climate privilege’, that describes how folks in places like the PNW actually have privilege, much like ‘white privilege’, of not having to react as quickly as people in other locales.

2020 Regional Technical Forum Work Plan – Oct 16 2019 9:00 am Pacific Time

  • RTF : regional technical forum
  • NG : natural gas analysis
  • residential building model
  • connect disparate utilities ~ coordinate research
  • DR : 3% of budget ~= 50K
    • EE + DR (energy efficiency and demand response)
    • tools need to be improved, historically focused on EE, not DR
  • Expand scope of RTF charter to include both EE + DR, and NG efficiency

Update on key Environmental Protection Agency activities in the Columbia River Basin - Oct 16 2019 10 am Pacific Time

Council Question

  • main stem TMDL cold water refuge?


  • TMDL : total maximum daily load : heat contributions
  • refuges report -> importance of places for fish during times of warmer temp regimes
    • not embedded in the TMDL…what does this mean?

Council Question:

  • What are the contaminants? What are the measurements?
  • Do you measure the surface? Where are the points of compliance?


  • variability in time of year, location on stream system, depth
  • mitigation opportunities are cool regions that vary by TOD, TOY, season, etc.
  • many different fed/state/tribal entities are involved

Council Question:

  • Are requirements different for adult spawning vs juveniles escaping?
  • Main stem is a corridor, not a spawning ground
  • Year round temp standard unnecessary b/c only important when fish are present, right?


  • Web of water quality standards. Varies by season, and use by fish
  • Focus is on TOY when fish are present and temps are up
  • Refuges give fish a place to shelter so they can rest before moving on

Council Question:

  • Who is going to manage the cold water refuges?


  • EPA is identifying where they are, how to protect and enhance, but implementation and management is up to the states

Council Question:

  • What about upstream pollutants from Canada? Area of the Kootenay…Note: a coal mine and effluent/tailings ponds were mentioned, but the coal company was not identified.


  • State Department interacts with Canada
  • Environment Canada is the Canadian agency

Briefing on regional energy future from an independent power producer perspective: Orijit Ghoshal, Invenergy. - Oct 16 2019 10:45 am Pacific Time

  • IPP : Independent Power Producer
    • developer / builder/ operator
    • not affiliated with a utility monopoly
    • no rate payer or guaranteed cash inflow
    • need long term agreements for revenue certainty
    • transmission rights are different (no eminent domain for one thing)
  • fuel supply and transmission rights are not firm
  • do not require firm supply and transmission
  • do not have imminent domain rights
  • need voluntary agreements with landowners (currently ~16K locations)
  • need close partnerships for those agreements
  • Invenergy the largest IPP in North America
    • developing desalination plants
    • 23GW nameplate capacity
    • 33B in capital
    • sell a lot of stuff to Pacificorp
  • listed a bunch of wind farms
    • Hood River : 72MW sells directly to LADWP
    • Grand Ridge : batter - PJAM freq regulation market, sub-second response
  • 600MW deployed wind generation across 13 facilities
    • used to take 2 years to develop a wind farm, now it’s down to 1.25 years
    • time frame for a battery facility is on order of months (and they can be relocated as necessary)
  • BPA owns 75% of PNW transmission
  • zero cost dispatch of resources makes economic sense
  • energy flows from CA <-> WA are changing
  • opportunity for IPP to enter the market
  • example scenario
    • low air pressure in winter -> cloud cover, low wind, and cold weather
    • need non solar non wind energy supply
    • (seems like trying to sell their gas gen plant that is in danger of being stranded)
  • BPA is not FERC regulated
  • all generators are revenue sources for BPA
  • resource adequacy requirements for 8GW?
  • interconnection challenges
    • siting
    • low hanging fruit (sites that are flat w/ good wind or solar) have been taken
    • constrained by physical characteristics
    • solar cost curve is declining faster than wind
    • federal tax credits for solar expire later than wind
    • (explains the rush on wind farms ATM, gotta build and complete before credits expire)
  • still need to address load
  • to get financing, need firm transmission rights, but transmission is limited
  • need increased transmission capacity in the system
  • firm transmission reservations are made 24x7 and typically day ahead…but these reservations are not being used 100%, in fact they are only used a small percentage of the time, so the system is booked but under utilized
  • RECS : renewable energy credits - that’s what Facebook is buying with it’s wind farm/solar? project, not the actual electricity, which will be sold on the market
  • firm zero carbon energy : code named ‘unicorn’ project : can be done with BPA hydro. but w/o a firm backing source like hydro, this is pretty expensive to do with current batteries, etc.
  • transmission congestion
    • need a region wide operator
    • need a single market
    • advocating with american wind energy association and renewable energy northwest, and others
  • when to buy / sell an asset?
    • outlook on asset performance
    • transmission injection rights
    • use of money
    • development transfer - build and sell facilities more and more as utilities become more comfortable with RE tech, and the utilities have a preference to own rather than PPA
  • given high demand for assets, Invenergy is selling them and using the $$$ to purchase transmission rights