Power Issues

Utility Fuel Mix

Big Bend Electric Cooperative purchased 580 million kilowatt-hours for its consumers in 2015 – all of it from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  The power came from the following resources:

  • Biomass                     0.13 %
  • Coal                           2.13 %
  • Geothermal                0.00 %
  • Hydro                       86.21 %
  • Natural Gas               1.33 %
  • Nuclear                    10.08 %
  • Other Biogenic           0.03%
  • Other Non-Biogenic   0.06%
  • Petroleum                 0.03 %
  • Waste                       0.00 %
  • Solar                         0.00 %
  • Wind                         0.00 %
  • Total                     100.00 %

BBEC’s Future Power Supply

The cost of BBEC’s wholesale power is the largest expense BBEC incurs in its business operations.  BBEC’s current power supply contract with BPA ends in 2028.

Climate Change & Energy Legislation

Energy Legislation Principles

Concerns about climate change are driving energy legislation on the state, regional, and national levels.  Principles that need to be addressed in energy legislation include credit for past accomplishments, federal versus state regulation, setting emission targets, setting timelines, value of conservation, a safety valve to protect the economy, and many others.  Read more about this at the People Power website.

Impact on BBEC will depend on how legislation is written.  For example, BBEC could find it difficult and expensive to obtain emission allowances.  Because BBEC’s current Utility Fuel Mix reflects a portfolio of generation resources that is low in greenhouse gas emissions, BBEC may be shortchanged in the allowance allocation process.

Impact on Rates

Energy legislation will likely have a significant impact on BBEC electric rates.  In addition to mandates or caps requiring generation/purchase of low-emission power, large investments in new technology will be needed to meet proposed targets.  These factors will tend to push rates upwards.  Energy legislation must consider the impact on consumers.

Contact legislators

Your elected officials are hearing from many different interest groups on how to address climate change and renewable energy.  High priority is being placed on developing programs quickly with aggressive targets in energy legislation.

At a time when fossil fuels and construction materials are at record high prices, building new generation to achieve legislation targets may be the most expensive in history.

This is the time to ask our leaders hard questions about the economic impact of energy legislation.  Your opinion is needed to assure that responsible, sound, and sustainable energy policy is developed to maintain access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy.

Contact your elected leaders and ask the following basic questions:

  • Experts say that our nation’s growing electricity needs will soon go well beyond what renewable energy, conservation, and energy efficiency can provide.  What is your plan to make sure we have the electricity we’ll need in the future?
  • What are you doing to fully fund the research required to make emissions-free electric plants an affordable reality?
  • Balancing electricity needs and environmental goals will be difficult.  How much is all this going to increase my electric bill and what will you do to make it affordable?

You may also visit the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association website to learn more and contact your legislators.

Fish & Wildlife Mitigation

BBEC’s wholesale power cost has been impacted in past years by as much as 25% from programs related to protecting fish and wildlife.  BBEC supports measures to protect fish and wildlife that are cost-effective and based on best science.  BBEC believes that breaching Snake River Dams is not a cost-effective means to protect fish listed as an endangered species.

BBEC belongs to a partnership of farmers, electric utilities and businesses that work together to ensure that the Columbia and Snake rivers remain living, working rivers.  Read more about this partnership at www.nwriverpartners.org.