Alcoa Energy Supply

On May 1, 2017, Chelan County PUD commissioners agreed to a requested change in the power contract with Alcoa Corp. that the company says will preserve the opportunity to further consider restarting its aluminum smelter located south of Wenatchee. Alcoa’s $7.3 million partial payment, which includes a charge for being able to “buy time,” was recommended by staff and provides that the one-year deferral on the balance will keep the financial impact neutral for PUD customer owners.

Board members took the action after reviewing staff analysis, discussing comments gathered from the community and Alcoa workers, and confirming with Alcoa and union representatives that workers will not lose any benefits if part of the $67 million payment due in June is deferred.  

Kelley Woodard, Wenatchee Aluminum Trades Council president, thanked PUD commissioners for the District’s support over the years of continued plant operations. “My goal is to get the plant restarted and get my members back to work. I think this gives us the best chance to make that happen … so I’m in favor.”

After approving the amendment, Commissioner Ann Congdon said the union’s support for the approach of paying a portion now and deferring the balance of the payment a year was key. “I had reservations, but based on what Kelley said, and that he supports it, because of that I did vote ‘yes.’ “

Michael Padgett, Alcoa senior vice president for energy, updated PUD board members on the company’s positive earnings for the first quarter of 2017, that the worldwide surplus of aluminum is smaller and that the Trump administration launched a recent inquiry into unfair trade practices in the global aluminum market.  

A 1953 view of Rock Island Dam and Alcoa Wenatchee Works

A 1953 view of Rock Island Dam and Alcoa Wenatchee Works


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Alcoa News

April 17 commission meeting news

by Kimberlee Craig | Apr 17, 2017

In addition to earlier news from Chelan County PUD about the recommended Alcoa contract amendment, PUD commissioners today: 

  • Approved an agreement with the Port of Chelan County to work together on exploring options for possibly building a new PUD operations center at Olds Station in north Wenatchee. The agreement also calls for looking at future options for the PUD’s existing buildings at Wenatchee Avenue and Fifth Street and on Hawley Street, said Jeff Smith, District Services managing director. A third element will be supporting each other’s future community development plans. No decision has been made to move ahead Smith noted. The agreement is based on consensus between the agencies and can be canceled by either party at any time. Port commissioners will be asked to act on the agreement Tuesday, April 18. Board President Randy Smith said he sees the agreement “as a first step in a very public process to engage a broader group of stakeholders than just these entities.”
  • Heard the results of the final snow survey in the mountains above Lake Chelan. Becky Keating, Energy Resources senior analyst, said based on snowpack, April to July runoff into the lake is forecast at 106 percent of normal. Lake Chelan Hydro Project operations will follow the dry-to-average year lake level range, which puts the District in a good position to meet all lake level targets for the year.  
  • Heard from General Manager Steve Wright on conclusions from a recent senior management retreat to review the District’s strategic plan. Wright said the discussion centered on, “our thinking on where we will go with the next set of five-year business plans.” Factors considered included declining wholesale power market prices; changes in financial forecasts; workforce needs; customer needs; environmental issues and the political landscape. Overall, PUD finances look good for the next five years, but planning is needed to face more challenges in the 2020s, he said. Commissioners set a special meeting for the annual update to strategic planning with District Strategy Partners at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.  
  • Approved an agreement with RH2 Engineering of Wenatchee for design and construction engineering for improvements to the Peshastin wastewater treatment plant at a cost not to exceed $670,000. The work is needed to comply with a state order to reduce phosphorus discharge into the Wenatchee River by roughly 99 percent by 2020. State grants and loans are expected to cover the total project cost of $3.5 million.   
  • Congratulated Commissioner Smith on his election to secretary on the Washington PUDs Association executive board
  • Were invited to take part in the NCW Eco Challenge by Susan Gillin, conservation program administrator. Chelan PUD and other community groups are sponsoring the challenge May 13-26. People are challenged to join a team and compete with others in North Central Washington to win prizes and learn how small actions can help reduce impacts on the planet.
  • Heard plans to accelerate generator repairs on unit C11 at Rocky Reach Dam to finish this year rather than next. Kirk Hudson, Generation and Transmission managing director said benefits include keeping the same contract crew that did generator repairs on the other three large units.   Finishing the project early also should allow three of the four largest units at Rocky Reach to return to service while the long-term turbine repairs continue one unit at a time.  
  •  Heard a report from Gregg Carrington, Energy Resources managing director, about the impacts of large amounts of hydropower, wind and solar being available in power markets this spring. Carrington reported that while there is the potential for extreme price volatility through the spring, it is unlikely this would materially impact the PUD’s financial forecast.

Upcoming events:

  • April 19 – Wenatchee Learns “Careers After School” program visits PUD Fleet Services
  • April 23 – Earth Day Fair, Lions Club Park, Leavenworth, Noon – 4 p.m.
  • April 26 – Advanced Meters community meeting, Manson Grange, 7 p.m.
  • April 27-May 7 – Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, Wenatchee
  • May 1 – Board meeting, 10 a.m.
  • May 2 – Strategy Partners meeting, Confluence Technology Center, 7:30 a.m. 
  • May 11-12 – River Ramble, Rocky Reach Visitor Center, 5-8 p.m.
  • May 13 – Kids Fest, Rocky Reach Visitor Center, 11-2 p.m.
  • May 15 – Board meeting, 10 a.m.
  • May 19 – Life is a Cycle, Walla Walla Point Park,

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The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 17, 2017, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.