Energy Northwest’s success is attributed to the dedicated team of almost 1,100 professionals who focus on performance excellence to make sure energy generation projects continue to operate reliably and predictably throughout the year.
The agency owns and operates four electricity generating facilities utilizing carbon free resources of hydro, nuclear, solar and wind, producing enough carbon-free energy to power a city the size of Seattle.
Our largest asset
Columbia Generating Station is the state’s third largest electrical generating resource behind Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. It’s the region’s only nuclear energy facility.
On May 9, 2015, Columbia Generating Station set a new record for its longest continuous operational run — 683 days — when operators shut down the reactor for the start of the station’s biennial refueling and maintenance outage.
During its 683-day run, Columbia produced nearly 18 million megawatt-hours of electricity.
During the 2015 outage, key modifications were made to further strengthen plant safety and gain greater efficiencies. Completion of these projects raised Columbia’s capacity by about 28 megawatts-electric. That equates to more than 200,000 megawatt-hours of additional generation per year.
The power plant annually prevents about 4.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere (3.6 million if natural gas is used as the sole source option).
With today’s focus on improving our global air quality, Columbia’s carbon-free baseload generation is more vital than ever to regional ratepayers. The power plant annually prevents about 4.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere (3.6 million if natural gas is used as the sole source option).
Nuclear energy continues to enjoy majority support across the state and in the Tri-Cities. Energy Northwest recently participated in a plant neighbor survey of 300 neighbors who live within a 10-mile radius of Columbia Generating Station.
The survey results tell us that community support is based on confidence in plant safety; trust in the way Columbia is managed; the effect of employee contributions to community businesses and charities; and an appreciation for the low-cost, clean benefits of nuclear energy. Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the survey.
This support is reflected in the advocacy provided by our local elected officials. The Tri-City area has a real opportunity, thanks to the work of the Tri-Cities Economic Development Council, state Sen. Sharon Brown and others, to become the center for future nuclear energy technology and manufacturing.
We believe small modular reactors, the next generation of nuclear reactors, will eventually play a role in future power generation in Washington and the Northwest. As part of a teaming agreement with NuScale Power in Corvalis, Ore., and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems in Salt Lake City, Energy Northwest is moving forward with work on the Carbon Free Power Project, a small modular reactor facility planned for construction in southeastern Idaho within the next 10 years.
Energy Northwest is moving forward with work on the Carbon Free Power Project, a small modular reactor facility planned for construction in southeastern Idaho within the next 10 years.
Our vision is for Energy Northwest to have the advantage of proven operational experience with small modular reactors when it’s time to bring this clean power technology to our state, and ideally the Tri-Cities.
Energy Northwest is also supporting the advancement of other new technologies through collaboration with Northwest utilities.
During February 2015, in partnership with Bonneville Power Administration, City of Richland, Cowlitz County Public Utility District and Pend Oreille County PUD, Energy Northwest successfully launched a demand response pilot project.
Demand-side resources have the potential to defer or displace the need for new generation in the region and make the most efficient use of existing generation resulting in overall cost savings for Northwest ratepayers.
Energy Northwest also partnered with Mason County Public Utility District 3, Benton PUD, Clark Public Utilities, Inland Power and Light Company, and Seattle City Light to help guide other utilities in the effective installation of community solar projects.
We are a diverse mix energy agency, and have communicated our support for such a combined strategy with state law makers — one that employs all major sustainable clean energy options, including renewables and nuclear, to meet carbon reduction goals.
Our commitment to the community is to continue operating all of our generating resources safely and cost-effectively; to work with our local public power partners on innovative energy solutions; and, to encourage our team to get involved in the Tri-Cities so it remains the special place it is to work and live.