BPU OKs Plan To Address Future Energy Report

COUNTY News:

The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved at its Nov. 18 board meeting a plan to address recommendations contained in the July 7, 2015 Future Electrical Energy Resources Report (FEER Report) .

In July, the Board voted to accept receipt of the report prepared by the Future Energy Resources Committee (FER Committee), a citizen ad-hoc committee charged with providing the BPU and the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) recommendations to realize a long-term goal to be carbon neutral by 2040. Discussion and acceptance of the report’s contents were reserved for a future Board meeting.

The adopted plan provides a schedule for the BPU to delve into and address each recommendation outlined in the 33-page FEER report over the course of three board meetings, with the first of which will be in December. 

Scheduled for the Dec. 16 board meeting, the plan indicates that BPU members discuss and adopt a “carbon neutral” definition. On page 3 of the FEER report, the FER Committee recommends a carbon neutral definition as “Electricity distributed to LA County consumers shall be generated or purchased from sources that do not cause any significant net release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases.” 

The report further explains that LA County consumers does not necessarily include the Department of Energy or the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as these agencies are bound by other laws. 

The Jan. 20 board meeting is reserved to examine recommended future energy generation resources for the county. Distributed electrical generation policies and rate structures are to be reviewed at the Feb. 17 board meeting. Board member David Powell indicated that while some of these topics may be resolved in one meeting, others may need to be continued at additional meetings.

Powell further emphasized the importance of notifying and informing the public of upcoming meetings and discussion items so the public can participate. “We want to be as transparent as possible with this process,” Powell said.

In March, the plan indicates that the BPU will direct the utilities manager to develop a comprehensive plan to implement the adopted future energy policies resulting from its discussions.  Ideally, BPU will approve the utilities manager’s comprehensive plan in July, so that it may be incorporated into long- and short-term goals at DPU’s annual strategic planning workshop in August.

BPU formed the Future Energy Resources Committee, a citizen ad-hoc working group, last February 2015 to examine and recommend a definition of carbon neutrality, future energy resources for the county and policies for distributed generation and rate structures. More information on the Future Energy Resources Committee and a copy of July 7, 2015 Future Electrical Energy Resources Report are available on the Department of Public utilities’ web page at www.losalamosnm.us/utilities.

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) operates the county-owned electric, gas, water & wastewater systems under the jurisdiction of the Board of Public Utilities. The Board meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. and the public is always welcome. The DPU is funded by rates paid for electric, gas, water and wastewater services and auxiliary fees, and has provided the community with these services for more than 40 years.

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