Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) keeps the lights on in the Pacific Northwest. The US Department of Energy power marketing agency operates a transmission grid (with more than 15,200 miles of high-voltage lines) that delivers about 30% of the electrical power consumed in the region. The electricity that BPA wholesales is generated primarily by 31 federal hydroelectric plants (operated by the US Army Corp of Engineers) and one private nuclear facility. BPA also purchases power from other hydroelectric, gas-fired, and wind and solar generation facilities in North America. BPA sells power to more than 140 primary customers, mainly public and investor-owned utilities in the Pacific Northwest.
BPA 's service territory includes Idaho, Oregon, Washington, western Montana and small parts of eastern Montana, California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
BPA operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high-voltage transmission in its service territory and has been the major developer of high-voltage transmission infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. It promotes energy efficiency, renewable resources and new technologies. The agency also funds regional efforts to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations affected by hydroelectric power development in the Columbia River Basin. BPA operates and owns one of the nation’s largest high voltage transmission systems.
Sales and Marketing
The company serves power cooperatives, municipalities, public utility districts, federal agencies, investor-owned utilities, direct-service industries, port districts, and tribal utilities.
It also sells wholesale power and transmission to about 130 marketers, and has about 420 transmission customers.
The company has seen its net revenues rise over the last three years.
In 2014 BPA's net revenues increased by 8% due to higher US Treasury credits for fish (up 23%) driven by higher replacement power purchases for fish and wildlife mitigation purposes made necessary by the lower than average Columbia River Basin runoff from October through February and again in September.
Net income increased by 16% due to a decline in non-federal projects funding driven by a terminated nuclear generation project.
BPA's cash from operating activities increased by 23%.
BPA's major priority is to preserve and enhance federal generation and transmission system assets and the economic, environmental and operational value they produce for the region. BPA's mission statement calls for it to maintain an efficient and reliable power supply by operating a transmission system that can integrate and transmit power from multiple generating sources, while mitigating the system's impacts on fish and wildlife. In 2015 it laid the internal groundwork this year for another tool to create a better-coordinated, more efficient system, introducing a 15-minute transmission scheduling.
In addition, in order to reduce its carbon emissions to meet state and federal requirements, the organization is pushing for new renewable energy sources. In 2014 hydro generation was 8,491 MW and total generation was 9,627 MW.
In 2014 BPA took its latest step in facilitating the growth of renewable resources, beginning construction on a new 500-kilovolt transmission project in Washington. The Big Eddy-Knight Transmission Project is intended to serve requests from large generators, including wind projects, for interconnection with BPA’s high-voltage transmission system.
In 2012 BPA bought electricity from a number of wind projects and had more than 4,000 MW of wind power capacity tied in to its transmission grid. BPA harnessed and integrated about 6,000 MW of wind power by the end of 2013.
BPA is also expanding its transmission grid, building three new 500-kilovolt transmission lines to cater to expanding Columbia Gorge wind power. In this regard, in 2011 the company began building a new high-voltage transmission line and substation (the Big Eddy-Knight Transmission Project) that would add more than 1,150 MW of capacity to its transmission grid and accommodate new wind energy sources. In 2012 it completed a separate 79-mile, $216-million line along the Columbia River east of the gorge.
BPA was founded in 1937.