“At WAPA we are dedicated to delivering on our mission, providing at-cost, renewable hydropower that serves more than 40 million people throughout the West.
One of the things we enjoy most about our work is the opportunity to recognize our customers for their shared commitment to serving their communities and using energy wisely. I am proud to be here today, honoring South Sioux City for their dedication to service and best business practices with WAPA’s Administrator’s Award.
Despite South Sioux City’s small size – the population is a little more than 13,000 – the city has delivered innovation along with affordable, reliable power year after year. But these accomplishments feel almost secondary to the vision that made them happen.
I am impressed by South Sioux City’s initiative in pursuing clean, low- carbon electricity through a unique mix of projects. In January they began operation of a 21-acre, 2.3-megawatt solar park, which generates 5 percent of the city’s total energy needs. They have also recently selected a firm to build 15 MW of new wind power, and signed an agreement to begin receiving generation from it in 2018. These projects represent mutually beneficial public-private partnerships.
They have also taken impressive initiative to maximize energy from biomass. Of course, that’s a fitting initiative to be spotlighted during National Bioenergy Day. They have several projects that reclaim natural gas from biomass, including three food processing plants and the Siouxland Ethanol Plant.
The innovation in South Sioux City is not limited to finding and developing new energy resources. South Sioux City has performed energy audits on all city facilities to identify energy-saving opportunities.
The improvements they have made include adding variable speed drives, converting street and signal lighting to LED and installing LED office lighting. Additionally, they have implemented energy-efficient heating and cooling measures and practices in city buildings.
Partnering with state agencies, energy services providers and, most of all, customers has been the secret of South Sioux City’s ability to deliver reliable, affordable power and innovation. That neighborly attitude has given them a strong base upon which to build a successful future.
At WAPA, we share South Sioux City’s dedication to good business practices and strong customer service. We also strive every day to build and maintain powerful partnerships.
As you may have heard, WAPA is currently moving forward with Southwest Power Pool membership for our Loveland Area Projects and Colorado River Storage Project. We are in the 45-day public comment period as we speak. Around two years ago our Upper Great Plains region joined SPP, and we saw greater-than-expected cost savings as a result. We look forward to bringing similar benefits to even more customers.
Earlier this month we also entered into new 50-year contracts with Hoover Dam. This milestone was the culmination of a nine-year remarketing effort by WAPA staff, and it widens the reach of the hydroelectric power generated at Hoover. For the past 80 years, Hoover Dam’s hydropower served 15 utility customers. Now it serves 46.
Our Continuous Process Improvement program has also recently reached $50 million in saved and avoided costs. This is the direct result of WAPA employees identifying areas to improve processes and enhance efficiency of operation, then taking the initiative to place those improvements into action.
We care deeply about the service we provide to customers, here and throughout our 15-state footprint. Employees work constantly to identify new and better ways to perform the work that WAPA does every day.
We are seeing dynamic change across the energy industry. Like South Sioux City, WAPA continues to strive for business, technology and organizational excellence, powerful partnerships and evolution of services.
South Sioux City, your collective approach to innovation, partnership, governance and trust would be impressive in a city many times your size. I am proud to honor you with the Administrator’s Award.