ARRA Symposium notes, March 10 2009

I’ll be referencing these notes in an article to be published on as What the ARRA Means for Clean Energy: One State’s Example on March 15th.

The Energy Part of the ARRA Process in Colorado

Public Utilities Commission Role

  • Eliminate barriers to regulated utilities participating… "will
    allow expedited review of applications filed to request financial incentives
    including ratemaking treatment"
  • Encourage regulated utilities to seek funding
  • Expect to be able to get more than our pro rata share of stimulus dollars
    – the fact that the bill was signed here is more than just symbolism
  • Encourage utility partners to design and propose ARRA projects.
  • Work with GEO to develop a unified, thematic approach to the CO ARRA
  • Section 410 – Gov must certify the alignment of earnings incentives to
    allow customers to use energy more efficienctly (was decoupling.) 
    Colorado did that last year, a docket I was involved in on behalf of the Energy
    Efficiency Business Coalition

Three Primary Portion of Funds

Money is expected on April 1; must be allocated within 18 months.  2010
construction req; 2012 completion requirement.

  • State Energy Program – Approx $50M/$3.1B – EnergyStar Homes, Insulate
  • Low income weatherization – $80M/$5B over 2 years (was $9M/yr, now
    $40M/yr)  More people qualify.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block grants ??/$3.2B.  Created in
    ESA, but funded in ARRA.  Formula: 68% to cities and larger counties.
    12% to state energy offices. 16% for distribution to smaller cities and
    counties. 2% Tribal governments; 2% competitive.

Governor’s energy Office will attempt to help with

  • Access to info – how to go about it
  • Access to financing – address problems with upfront costs – work with
    lending institutions
  • Access to services- Workforce development, certification, expansion to
    underserved areas.

Transparency and accountability 

DOE Loan gaurantee $ have been sitting there for 2 years, and DOE cannot get
them out the door.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu has made a commitment to
getting that money flowing by May.  

Energy Star appliance money will be distributed formulaically to the states
to distribute..

Electric Generation

Karen Hyde- Xcel.Energy

  • Sees opportunity as a market for other projects.  Market for small
    generation projects.  Geothermal, Hydro, Biofuels.  Can consider
    <30 MW projects as they come in.  Looking at CCS, CAES would
    probably partner for these.  Might also be some efficiency grants.

Mac McLennan – Tri-State Generation and Transmission

  • Will spend considerable time on rurla development, forest management, and
    army corps of engineers, hydropower.
  • In electric generation side, how do we break through barriers to accessing
    this money…. has hitrically been difficult.
  • Advanced reaserch and demonstration – Biomass/Beetle kill wood fired
    generation.  Geothermal.  CAES on Eastern Plains.
  • Fossil R&D – site characterization for geologic storage of carbon.

Nick Muller – Colorado Independent Energy Association (IPPs) 40 members

  • Transmission is stuck… not consideration of regional needs. Funds need
    to go to stimulate coordinated transmission planning. Sec of energy has
    authority to use or authorize funds for improved transmission.  CIEA
    wants to target 4 corners area for export.

Electric Transmission

Anthony Montoya – Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) ($3.25B – already

  • Two new authorities – Can now construct transmission solely ro renewable
  • Can now borrow for that ($3.25B) – 
  • Money must be repaid to Treasury, w/ interest; must be distinct from
    current projects
  • Allows partnerships with other companies
  • Must be in public interest, not adversely impact reliablity, or current
    ops, anc repay the loan.
  • Must have a public process to identify how this program will be
    administered… comment going on through Apr 3 (
  • Time for statements of interest on projects. (also on

Tom Carr, Western Interstate Energy Board (energy Arm of Western Governor’s

  • Background- Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative – Identify Renewable
    Energy Zones in Western Area – Will have report in June.
  • Conceptual plans for delivering those to markets working with WECC.
  • New federal bill this week: (Ried) would advocate to have federal government
    designate REZ, and require interconnection-wide transmission planning. 
    Would likely include potential preemption/federal siting authority which
    might go to FERC.  National interest transmisson corridor

Robin Kittel – Xcel Energy

  • Want an additional $1M added to existing study to use a flow-based
    methodology for calculating transmission capacity.  
  • High Plains Express Project… currently in phase 2 of feasibility
    study.  WAPA might be able to participate financially ($100K)
  • Beetlekill mitigation projects.
  • Recently filed a number of transmission plans under SB 100 some of which
    might qualify for ARRA funding.

Ron Steinbach – Tri-State

  • Smart grid demonstration grants- looking for demonstration project between
    interface of bulk transmission and distribution grids.
  • Smart Grid opportunities at bulk level (see balancing authorities as key
    to this)
  • taking a very cautious note towards transmission project… seemed
    defensive, rather than opportunistic
  • Interested in training money for their aging transmission workforce.

Smart Grid Panel

TAKEAWAY- Utilities are more excited about upstream improvements in operating
efficiency than they are in customer efficiency.

Brian Iverson – Black Hills Corporation

  • Has AMI pilot in Pueblo (Radio/Cellular hybrid), expect to be installing
    4000 meters per week. Will try to speed this up.  May be able to extend
    to more remote areas.
  • Distribution automation: Enhancing communication with substations.

Brad Gaskill, Poudre Valley REA

  • Has commitment to test or deploy smart grid.  Landis + Gyr combining
    2 way data of power + 2 way radio.
  • Focus on large industrial customers.
  • Was planning on 3 year rollout, may accelerate this to 18 months if
    stimulus money available.

Steve Catanach, Fort Collins Utilities

  • Fort ZED.  Partnership with city, CSU, others.  ZED=Zero energy
    District. Goal- create energy independent zone.
  • would like to use federal money to expand this, include smart metering and
    or storage and or dispatchable renewables.

Michael Carlson, Xcel Energy (spending most of his tiem on Boulder Smart Grid
City project)

  • Started in 2006… at that time we thought the biggest challenge would be
    bringing others along.  but we still have questions about what it
  • Current goals: 1) Utility efficiencies, assest ops, asset life extn,
    recapaciatixing the infrastructure,. new assets and services.
  • Substation optimization, and transparency seem transparent.  
  • Don’t know: what sort of communication do we need?  We don’t need
    millisecond for reduced spinning reserve and enhanced reliability, but we do
    need second range.
  • What are customer engagement models?  Have to prioritize
  • System transparencey is now wonted by consumers, but will this just be a
    short-term win?
  • What is the role of the meter?  have big investment in AMR… should
    we abandon now for AMI?

DSM, EE, RE, Residential Sector, Commercial Sector, and Codes

Anderw Colosimo, Co Springs Utilities

  • See many opps under energy audits, expanded rebate programs.  Claims
    to be looking at new renewable energy, but a SunEdison employee sitting next
    to me mentioned that they had just killed two SunEdison projects recently.

Terry Hall, Y-W Electric Assoc

  • Y-W northeast part of the state.  2 customers per mile of line. 
    Irrigation largest class.  Summer load 135 MW/ winter 30
  • DSM program focused on irrigation.  We control irrigation (DR) in
    shoulder months.  Will look at smartgrid moneys to expand this

Seth Prtner, GEO

  • Acting director of state’s weatherization program
  • Will see significant growth.  Was $250M/year nationally up to
    $5M.  CO will spend about $50M/year.  Will move from 4K homes/year
    up to 10K/year.
  • Core values of program- strong income qualification component.
  • We intend to have strong informational push.

Sam Mamet, Colorado Municipal league 

  • Overwhelmed… worried about sales tax in the tank.  Has doubts bout
    stimulus package, but inspired and in awe from the leadership and talent in
    this room.  In addition to being overwhelmed, I am in awe of the
    leadership and energy here.
  • Legislature told us to implement EE codes last year, and I appreciate the
    help from GEO. 
  • Stimulus package- telling local gov’ts to think big but act
    strategically.  concerned about too much money coming too
    quickly.  Energy block grants.  
  • The opptys inn the stimulus package offer incredible oppties to partner
    that we may not have anticipated several years ago.  Consider
    partnering with other entities in your communities.  Don’t used shotgun
    approach.. if you’re serious about it, do it right.
  • I want to be treated as a partner at the front end.
  • Local gov’ts are excited about the opportunities because we’ve been
    leading by example. 

Jeff Ackermann, PUC Staff

  • By mid 2009 all IOUs will have DSM programs approved.
  • The stimulus money is great oppty, but there are also large challenges
  • Challenges: participation levels – what if this happens faster than
  • Stimulus may increase naturally occurring DSM. Where to focus utility
    investment?  How to assess new potential after stimulus come and gone.
  • Overlap between programs.  What is there are two rebates into same
    market?  Can we anticipate/coordinate with recovery money.
  • Coordinate low income programs with new weatherization money.  PSCo
    will be working on 4000 homes… should utility investment just be added to
    the pool.  Are there any measures that fed money not targetting? 
    Should the money be held back to continue this effort after stimulus is
  • Market Transformation: Is this still a good utility investment?  Will
    markets now change faster than anticipated?  How do you measure market
    transformation?  who gets the credit?  
  • Measurement at the ened of the day/Attribution becomes much more
  • Recovery money moves the sweet spot of where and how much ratepayer money
    should be dedicated?

Job Creation and Workforce Development

Carmen Rhodes, Front Range Economic Strategy Center

  • Large portion of construction workers require years of training… need to
    replace retiring skilled workers.
  • Apprenticeship programs.. canned speech.
  • Proposed linkages – want to partner with employers, etc.
  • need to get more people into the training pipeline, but need jobs for
    those apprentices while they are training and after.

Brad Collins ASES


Nancy McCallin, Colorado Community College System

  • new educational grants are increasing, and so we will be able to do more
  • there is money to restore funding in higher ed and K12… but these are
    one time moneys and so we don’t want to use them foe ongoing expenses.
  • Enrollment is up 12%… laid  off workers enrolling in college.
  • certification program for green builders
  • Colorado center for excellent in renewable energy.(located at northeastern
    junior college)
  • Training centeres in solar dia , wind nrel , SG – ft collins
  • solar installer program
  • 2 year RE program – 1st year on core knowledge; 2nd year on partnerships
    and skills.
  • more programs than I can keep up with
  • RRCC – environmental tech, solar PV, solar PV, Energy Audits, etc.


  1. […] four hours long with no breaks.  For readers seeking some specific information, here is a link to my notes.  What follows are my thoughts on what it may mean for different clean energy […]

  2. […] hours long with no breaks.  For readers seeking some specific information, here is a link to my notes.  What follows are my thoughts on what it may mean for different clean energy […]

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