Power Supply & Integrated Resource Plan

Fuel Mix

Cowlitz PUD buys over 90 percent of its wholesale power from Bonneville Power Administration. The majority of the BPA power comes from the Columbia River system hydroelectric projects. BPA also sells the output of the Columbia Generating System (nuclear plant) near Richland, WA, and makes miscellaneous energy purchases on the open market, which may include resources other than hydro.

The rest of the PUD’s power comes from its own Swift No. 2 Hydroelectric Project on the Lewis River (near Cougar, WA), and from the mid-Columbia River hydro projects owned by Grant PUD.

According to data provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce, here’s the most recent breakdown of Cowlitz PUD’s fuel sources:

Pie chart of Cowlitz PUD's 2017 Fuel Mix

Coal – 1.5%
Hydro – 83.1%
Natural Gas – 2.0%
Nuclear – 7.7%
Wind – 5.4%
*Other – 0.4%

*includes biomass, cogeneration, geothermal, landfill gas, petroleum, solar, waste incineration, and other fuel types

 

Integrated Resource Plan

Cowlitz PUD is required by Washington State law, RCW 19.280, to develop “a comprehensive resource plan that explains the mix of generation and demand‐side resources it plans to use to meet its customers’ electricity needs in both the long term and the short term.” The law stipulates that Cowlitz PUD produce a full plan every four years, and provide an update to the full plan every two years.

Cowlitz PUD’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) lays out a strategy for meeting its energy needs, capacity demand, and Washington State renewable portfolio standard (RPS) obligations over a 20-year planning horizon from 2017 through 2036. The goal of this IRP is to provide a framework for evaluating a wide array of supply resources, conservation, and renewable energy credits. The IRP provides guidance towards strategies that will provide reliable, low cost electricity to the District’s ratepayers at a reasonable level of risk. The 2016 IRP outlines the sources of power needed to supply our customers through 2036. It describes the mix of resources from generation, conservation and efficiency that will meet current and projected needs at the lowest reasonable cost and risk to the utility and its customer-owners.

In addition, Cowlitz PUD prepared a 2018 update which largely maintains the direction of the 2016 IRP despite significant changes to some input assumptions.