Nine days without power: My ice storm story as an EWEB customer and employee
While beautiful and peaceful, buying a home on the edge of the forest and surrounded by trees has its tradeoffs. Moving “upriver,” I knew there would be more threats to prepare for, including Mother Nature’s seasonal surprises.Find Out More
Leaburg Decommissioning Action Plan
Plan details next steps through regulatory processes to begin dismantling Leaburg Dam by 2032.Find Out More
Start the New Year saving money with energy saving tips
We know that saving money is important to our customers. Using energy and water wisely is a great way to reduce your monthly utility bill, even as the costs of electricity and water rise. EWEB has several steps you can take to reduce your usage and even make your home feel more comfortable.Find Out More
Currin Substation: End of year update
EWEB Engineer Philip Peterson explains what's been happening in the final stretch to complete the substation rebuild.Find Out More
EWEB Recognized with Excellence in Communications Awards from American Public Power Association
We are proud to have been recognized with two Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards for 2023 from the American Public Power Association (APPA).Find Out More
EWEB now offering a Smart Thermostat rebate program
EWEB is excited to announce a new residential rebate program to provide electric customers with free or greatly discounted Smart Thermostats to customers whose primary source of heating is from an electric forced-air furnace or heat pump.Find Out More
Your EWEB Rates at Work: Investing Today for a Resilient Tomorrow
For more than a century, EWEB has planned, built, and maintained the systems that deliver safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible power and water to Eugene homes and businesses.Find Out More
Have an energy efficient and water conscious holiday season
The holiday season is officially upon us. Whether you are celebrating a special holiday or just sharing a meal with close friends and family, hosting can cause some unexpected energy and water usage increases – resulting in a higher utility bill. We’ve prepared some tips on how you can save energy and water this holiday season.Find Out More
River Road Substation returns to service after infrastructure upgrades
Supply chain shortages and proactive infrastructure investments, including constructing seismic foundations and implementing control modernization, have played a role in the substation's return-to-service timeline.Find Out More
The importance of managed electric vehicle charging explained
EWEB has much to handle related to EV charging infrastructure. To ensure that the switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles reduces the most emissions possible at the lowest cost possible, we need to implement managed EV charging.Find Out More
Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter storm season
Winter is coming, which increases the likelihood of storm-related power outages. It's important to be prepared, and there are simple actions you can take right now.Find Out More
EWEB seeks public input on electric vehicle, demand response standards
EWEB is seeking public input on the potential adoption of updated standards for electric vehicles (EVs) and demand response programs. The potential standards are derived from the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.Find Out More
As prices increase, what can you do to take control of monthly utility bills?
EWEB’s Board of Commissioners is considering rate changes in 2024. Here are some ways to save money and manage your bill, and how EWEB can help.Find Out More
Public Power Week Poster Contest 2023
It’s that time of year again! October 1-7 is Public Power Week. To celebrate, EWEB is holding our annual poster contest for fifth graders in our service area. Help us pick the winners.Find Out More
Salmon Return to Finn Rock Reach
Finn Rock Reach and other restoration projects throughout the Middle McKenzie provide conditions to help young fish survive to adulthood.Find Out More
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EWEB Announces Electrification Impact Study as Earth Day Celebrates 50th Anniversary Year
April 20, 2020
Eugene Water & Electric Board is exploring the impacts of widespread electrification on our community. In this study, EWEB will hypothesize various electrification scenarios and assess potential impacts to power supply, demand, local infrastructure, and community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
It is fitting that EWEB announce the study during the 50th anniversary year of Earth Day, as the theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action, a topic that is directly related to electrification.
Electrification is a term for replacing direct fossil fuel use (e.g., natural gas, heating oil, gasoline) with electricity in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Stabilizing Earth's temperature requires greenhouse gas emissions to reach net-zero by 2050.
Here in Eugene, where we are fortunate to have one of the cleanest power portfolios in the nation, electrifying end-use technologies presents both potential opportunities and challenges.
"Locally, our customers want to do their part to address the climate crisis, and they are looking to EWEB to enable a transformation to clean, sustainable energy use," said Frank Lawson, EWEB's General Manager. "However, without a thoughtful and intentional approach to electrification, we risk creating a diminished carbon benefit and unintended effects such as declining reliability of the grid, or price increases that make electricity unaffordable, particularly for low-income communities."
The impacts of electrification could be far-reaching, dramatically altering how much, when and where electricity is used. Locally and regionally, significant infrastructure investments will be needed to support changing demand. At the same time, the loss of capacity from coal plant retirements could affect the price and availability of electricity.
Despite these challenges, if done right, there are many opportunities to support our community's climate recovery goals through the smart electrification of transportation, space heating and water heating in both residential and commercial sectors. The study will help EWEB understand and prepare for various electrification futures, including the resources, technology, and infrastructure that will be needed to meet customers' changing energy needs, including fuel and electricity impacts.
The study aims to answer five questions:
- How might legislation and local ordinances impact the rate of electrification in Eugene?
- How could widespread electrification impact local electricity demand and consumption patterns?
- What impact would electrification have on EWEB's power system (generation, transmission, distribution, etc.)?
- What role might energy efficiency and demand-side flexibility play in mitigating challenging outcomes of mass electrification?
- What are the potential costs, benefits, and impacts of various electrification futures?
The study is part of EWEB's larger and ongoing Electricity Supply Planning (ESP) effort. Electricity Supply Planning includes a broad set of actions, such as evaluating power portfolio options, negotiating power purchase agreements, managing infrastructure, and developing customer products and services, all with the goal continuing to serve our community over the long-term with clean, affordable and reliable power.
EWEB management and Board of Commissioners determined in March 2020 that an electrification study will be the focus of the utility's near-term efforts due to broad interest in electrification from customers and the Board.
"We have heard strong feedback from the Board and community that the most relevant and timely issue for EWEB relative to power resource planning should be electrification, specifically, how much electrification can EWEB handle, what kind, how fast, and what's the net carbon benefit," said Frank Lawson. "These are relevant and pressing questions given that most widely accepted solutions to the climate crisis involve aggressive electrification of energy end uses."
The electrification study will take priority over EWEB's previously scheduled Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) work, a process aimed at helping EWEB make decisions about long-term power generation resources. EWEB provides annual updates to the Board on the status of our existing IRP, with the last update on September 2019 showing that EWEB's portfolio remains adequate for meeting our resource needs for at least the next five years.
"EWEB has no immediate need for new power resources, so it makes sense to postpone the IRP for the time being," said Frank Lawson. "On the other hand, electrification of transportation and buildings can create opportunities and challenges for EWEB."
The electrification study will be completed in phases, with Phase 1 focusing on potential changes to demand and consumption patterns, generation needs, and environmental impacts from electrification of small vehicles, water and space heating. A first draft for Phase 1 review will be made available by mid-summer of this year, with the invitation for Board and public review and guidance. Phase 2 of the study will focus on infrastructure, costs and influence of energy efficiency and demand-side flexibility, and is targeted for completion in early 2021.
Throughout this work, EWEB will take steps to inform, educate and listen to customers.
"As we refocus our short-term efforts from an IRP to an electrification study, our goals for public engagement remain the same," said Frank Lawson. "We want to hear input that helps inform and guide utility decisions, and ensure that customers who choose to engage in the process have opportunities to do so."
We invite customers to sign-up to receive news and updates on EWEB's Electricity Supply Planning work.
With results of the electrification study in-hand, EWEB will be poised to direct our efforts back to Integrated Resource Planning. We expect to take up the next IRP in 2023.