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
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
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
EWEB programs reflect community values
EWEB is here to serve our customer-owners and provides programs that reflect the values of our community.Find Out More
Where is EWEB in planning our future electricity supply?
In August, we reached a milestone: EWEB’s five-member elected Board of Commissioners approved an action plan to guide our energy supply choices for the next 2-3 years. How did we get here?Find Out More
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.Find Out More
Planning for a Future of Reliable, Affordable, Environmentally Responsible Energy
The challenges revealed by Eugene Water & Electric Board’s integrated resource planning process mirror those facing the Northwest.Find Out More
EWEB’s heat driven call to conserve energy yields major savings
EWEB is likely to implement similar, formalized “demand response” programs in the future.Find Out More
Please join your neighbors in reducing energy use today
With excessive temperatures and wildfire conditions affecting power generation across the region, EWEB is encouraging customers to safely conserve power.Find Out More
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Eugene Weekly op-ed: Planning for a reliable, affordable, green energy future
August 04, 2023 • Frank Lawson, EWEB General Manager
This op-ed first appeared in the Eugene Weekly.
Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, tomorrow, next year, next decade and next century — our work at the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) never stops, even as the environment we operate in grows increasingly dynamic.
As Oregon’s largest public utility, EWEB serves approximately 200,000 people in Eugene and parts of the McKenzie Valley. Our services — delivering drinking water and electricity — are becoming more precious and are essential to our community’s vitality.
The most immediate challenge facing EWEB is effectively planning and operating in a turbulent environment, including a changing climate, new technology, developing energy markets, political and regulatory flux, natural and human threats, and evolving diverse community opinions and expectations.
Guiding EWEB is a set of core values that reflect those we serve, including safety, reliability, affordability, environmental responsibility, equity and transparency. These values are all inclusive and perpetual, and we are responsible for navigating the tensions and tradeoffs between them.
Using our values as a guide, EWEB has spent the last 18 months forecasting Eugene’s electricity needs 20 years into the future and using modeling analysis software to assess various combinations — or portfolios — of electricity sources that would best meet those needs at the best price. This is our Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process, which is an analysis tool used to inform near-term decisions and actions.
Recognizing that every energy resource has tradeoffs, we put some guardrails on the IRP process. We required every energy portfolio created by the model to keep rates low, always maintain electricity reliability, even during peak consumption, and be 95 percent carbon-free by 2030.
The IRP analysis results yielded several key insights. EWEB should continue to have hydropower as the foundation of our portfolio. EWEB will need to modify or develop customer programs to save energy and manage when electricity is consumed to mitigate peak demand. And, under modest growth conditions, EWEB will need to supplement our hydropower base with new intermittent renewable resources (wind farms) and new utility-scale storage (batteries).
The analytical results also showed that if demand for electricity rises more dramatically, EWEB will need zero-carbon, on-demand, “dispatchable” electricity sources. EWEB’s model identified biomass co-generation and small modular nuclear reactors as the lowest-cost options available under some conditions during the 20-year planning horizon. Other technologies may emerge in the future that offer similar capabilities, potentially with better costs, both financial and environmental. We’ll evaluate and consider them when they do.
EWEB is not alone in the need for resources with these operating characteristics. A 2022 regional study by the reliability coordinator for much of the Western U.S. indicated a need for “other emerging clean and flexible energy resource technologies that do not produce emissions” and for other “clean resource types with performance characteristics similar to that of gas-fired generation resources.”
With the modeling results published, EWEB is now moving to specific actions that we can accomplish in the next two to three years. None of the actions involve procuring new generation resources. Instead, we will launch additional studies, continue regional dialogues, monitor emerging electricity markets and technologies, and refine our decision-making framework for when we do need to acquire additional electricity resources.
EWEB will continue to negotiate a new contract with the Bonneville Power Administration, which provides about 80 percent of our energy. We will determine how much potential there is to conserve energy in the community, and how much it will cost EWEB to enhance our programs and incentivize customers to conserve more. We will assess the potential to shift electricity demand during the day to reduce peak energy use, because peak energy is more expensive to procure and typically comes with higher carbon emissions. And, lastly, we will adapt our assumptions and forecasts to prepare for our 2025 IRP — because EWEB will conduct an IRP analysis every two years to adapt to shifting conditions and better information.
The recent IRP process has informed EWEB about the issues and options based on today’s assumptions. Not everyone will be pleased with the outcomes, which reveal tradeoffs and challenges that we must overcome in the coming years. But ultimately, quantitative and qualitative information — along with our values and judgment, not the software — will determine the solutions, actions and outcomes we pursue. The goal is to reassemble an electric generation portfolio based on all our values — safety, reliability, affordability, environmental responsibility, equity and transparency.
Thank you for your feedback and support!
EWEB's power supply
EWEB’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will analyze possible energy resource portfolios with a goal of creating useful insights for long-term (20-year) electricity supply planning decisions.