FortisBC provides $5 million to help build two of Western Canada’s first LNG marine vessels

SURREY, B.C. – ​FortisBC announced today that it will provide $5 million in incentive funding toward two new vessels for Seaspan Ferries that will be able to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The incentives were made possible following the creation of the Government of B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation in 2012 when FortisBC announced the $62 million program for fleet operators to offset part of the cost for a natural gas engine over a diesel engine.

“Our government supports these incentives which decrease operating costs, support the province’s growing LNG sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. “With the expansion of FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG facility now underway, I look forward to seeing more agreements like this in the months and years ahead.”

The funding agreement with Seaspan will result in the reduction of an estimated 5,450 metric tonnes per year of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking more than 1,140 passenger cars off the road annually, because natural gas is cleaner burning than traditional marine diesel fuel. Seaspan has also agreed to a fuelling agreement of up to 200,000 gigajoules of LNG per year which will come from FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG facility in Delta.

“B.C. has more natural gas fuelled vehicles in our province as a result of this incentive program than anywhere else in Canada,” said Doug Stout, FortisBC Vice-President of Market Development and External Relations. “The funding for these two marine vessels helps add to that tally, and it’s further good news that Seaspan has chosen to get its LNG from FortisBC.”

In 2014, Seaspan Ferries began shipping LNG in ISO containers from FortisBC’s Tilbury facility for use by natural gas for transportation customers on Vancouver Island.

Seaspan is an association of Canadian companies involved in coastal marine transportation, shipdocking and ship escort, ship repair and shipbuilding services in Western North America. The two new 150 metre ferries will accommodate up to 59 truck trailers.

“Switching to LNG is a natural progression for us,” said Steve Roth, Seaspan Ferries Corporation Vice-President. “Since two of Seaspan’s core values are efficiency and care, we are extremely pleased that moving to LNG will both reduce fuel costs and provide environmental benefits. FortisBC provided the expertise to help us discover the best fuel alternative for our ferry fleet.”

To date, the incentive program has resulted in 400 natural gas vehicles on the road or vessels in the water, eliminating 38,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 8,000 vehicles off the road each year. To date, FortisBC has signed agreements for $28 million in incentive funding for land vehicles and marine vessels.

To meet increased market demand for LNG, FortisBC has broken ground on a $400-million expansion of its Tilbury LNG facility in Delta which will add 1.1 million gigajoules of LNG storage and approximately 34,000 gigajoules of liquefaction capacity per day. The existing Tilbury LNG facility has been in operation since 1971.

The additional volumes of natural gas for transportation moving through FortisBC’s pipeline system benefit all natural gas customers. Better year-round utilization of FortisBC’s infrastructure, especially during the summer months when heating requirements are reduced, helps to keep natural gas delivery rates stable.

 

Avista Announces $250,000 in 2014 Year-End Donations

Avista  today announced that it is making donations totaling $250,000 in the month of December to benefit 37 food banks, 21 community non-profit agencies, the Boys & Girls Club of Spokane County and The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. The gifts bring the total value of grants and donations for 2014 to $1.7 million from both the Avista Foundation and Avista Corp.

In addition, the company built and donated in May the new Spokane Tribal Gathering Place at City Hall, valued at $2 million, and made a $6.5 million contribution to the Avista Foundation to sustain the community investment program into the future. Funds for Avista Corp. donations come from company profits. They are not included as a cost to customers in developing retail rates.

“Having a positive impact on our communities has always been a priority for Avista. This year, marking our 125th anniversary, it is especially meaningful to us to help support the community resources and organizations that make such a difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors,” said Avista Corp. Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Scott Morris.”We have a legacy of community support that dates back to the founding of our company in 1889. We invest substantially in our communities because we care about those who live in the places we all call home. It’s simply the right thing for us to do.

“I’m very proud of our employees, as well,” Morris continued. “They give generously of their time, talent and treasure to the non-profit organizations in their own hometowns. As a group, they are consistently among the leading donors to local United Way organizations, and they average 50,000 hours of volunteerism each year.

 

2014 Year-End Donations: 

Energy assistance donations total $200,000

Twenty-one community service agencies in eastern Washington and northern Idaho will receive a total of $200,000 to make grants for energy assistance to qualifying Washington Avista customers who are in need this winter and who may have exhausted all other available energy assistance resources. The organizations receiving the donations are identified by Avista’s CARES representatives (Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Service). These reps are specially trained and work closest with our most vulnerable customers and the community agencies that provide support services.

Aging and Long Term Care SE Wash. Clarkston $  5,000
American Childhood Cancer Org. Spokane Valley $10,000
Audubon Park United Methodist Church Spokane $  3,000
Big Table Spokane $  7,500
Caritas Outreach Ministries Spokane $  5,000
Catholic Charities Spokane $10,000
Colville Volunteer Food & Resource Center Colville $12,000
Gritman Medical Center – Light a Candle*Immaculate Conception MoscowColville $  2,000$  4,000
New Hope Resource Center Colbert $10,000
Our Place Community Ministries Spokane $23,000
Providence Healthcare Foundation Spokane $10,000
St. Vincent DePaul Clarkston $12,000
Salvation Army of Lewiston* Lewiston, ID $  5,000
Salvation Army of Spokane Spokane $27,000
Scottish Rite Spokane $  5,000
Spokane Center for Independent Living Spokane $  2,500
Spokane Valley Partners Spokane Valley $27,000
The Greenhouse Community Center Deer Park $10,000
Transitions/Women’s Health Spokane $  5,000
Volunteers of America Spokane $  5,000
*Agencies serve customers who live in Washington  

Regional food banks receive over $33,000

For those with limited income, feeding their family can be one of the biggest challenges they face each month. Food banks in Washington, Idaho and Oregon will receive donations, either directly or through a distributor, for a total of $33,600 to help support the vital safety-net services they provide.

Through their buying power and relationships with food producers, the food banks are able to leverage donations like ours to bring several times their value to help stock the shelves for those in need.

 

Eastern WashingtonAddy Rescue Mission

Cheney Food Bank

Chewelah Food Bank

Colville Volunteer Food and Resource Center

Connell Food Bank

Kettle Falls Community Chest

Lincoln County Care and Share

Loon Lake Food Bank and Resource Center

Medical Lake Food Bank Association

Northport Food Bank

Northwest Harvest

Odessa Food Bank

Othello Food Bank

Our Place Community Ministries

Peaceful Valley Neighborhood Association

Ritzville Food Pantry

Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest

Spokane Valley Partners

Sprague Lamont 4H Club Food Bank

Valley Food Pantry

Warden Food Pantry

Washington Gorge Action Programs

 

North Idaho

ABC Community Food Bank

Bonner Community Food Center

Clark Fork Food Pantry

Jumpin’ Beans Mobile Food Bank

Post Falls Food Bank, Inc.

Priest River Food Bank

Rathdrum Community Food Bank

Spirit Lake Food Bank

West Bonner County Food Bank

 

Montana

Montana Food Bank Network

  

SE Washington and Palouse Area

Asotin County Food Bank Association

Community Action Center

Community Action Partnership

Sojourner’s Alliance

The Idaho Food Bank

 

Oregon

ACCESS, Inc.

Community Connection of Northeast Oregon

FISH of Roseburg

Klamath Lake Counties Food Bank

United Community Action Network

Special Donations: Two additional donations are being made in 2014
Boys & Girls Club of Spokane County               $  7,500

Through participation in the Avista Festive Sweater Generator
(www.avistaholiday.com) Avista will contribute $1 to the Boys & Girls Club of
Spokane County by Dec. 31, 2014.

 

The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund          $10,000

 

About the Avista Foundation

The Avista Foundation was established in 2002 with the objective of making a difference in our communities in a positive and sustainable way. It is not funded from customers’ energy bills. Since its founding the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling more than $3 million. The foundation focuses its giving in the areas of:

·         education – K-12 education particularly in the fields of science, math and technology; and higher education including scholarships,

·         vulnerable and limited income populations – providing assistance to those on limited incomes and support for initiatives to reduce poverty, and

·         economic and cultural vitality – supporting projects that help communities and citizens to grow and prosper.

Join us for a Free Lunch & Learn on 12/11 in Olympia

Join the NWGA on Thursday, December 11 in Olympia, Washington for our final lunch and learn of 2014. We’ll be at the Association of Washington Business Headquarters discussing opportunities for the innovative use of natural gas, particularly small-scale LNG.

Lunch is provided, registration is free, and space is limited so sign up today at the following link: www.natgaslunch.eventbrite.com

Dan Kirschner, Executive Director, Northwest Gas Association will provide attendees with an update of the current natural gas outlook in the Pacific Northwest. Ian Burkheimer, Director of Business Development, Plum Energy will give an overview of the opportunities for development of small-scale Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a means of reducing fuel costs and environmental footprints. 

What:   Free NWGA Lunch & Learn

Where: Association of Washington Business

1414 Cherry St. SE

Olympia, WA 98501

When:  Thursday, December 11, 2014

Noon-1 pm

To Register: natgaslunch.eventbrite.com

 

About the Presenters:

Ian Burkheimer, Director of Business Development, is responsible for marketing, sales and relationship management for Plum Energy. He works with multiple domestic and international industries to develop strategic business development opportunities for Plum, introducing LNG solutions for mining, E&P, and many other off-grid customers. 

Dan Kirschner has been the Executive Director of the Northwest Gas Association (NWGA) since 2002. An expert on natural gas matters in the Pacific Northwest, Kirschner works to foster understanding among opinion leaders and informed decision-making by governing officials on issues related to natural gas in the region.

 

Avista Offers Bill Assistance Tools for Customers

Winter has landed in the northwest and with it comes cold temperatures. The bitter temperatures alone can cause rising energy use and costs, but combined with the holiday season bringing visiting friends and family, more showers, cooking and other energy using activities, customers can expect to see higher utility bills in December and January. Knowing this, Avista wants to remind customers of the bill assistance tools available to help them.

“The most important step customers can take is to contact Avista as soon as they have a concern about paying their energy bill. That way, we can work together on options to help them through the challenging time,” said Mike Broemeling, Avista’s director of customer service.

Avista offers customers a variety of payment options, including:

·         Comfort-level billing that can smooth out seasonal highs and lows by dividing an energy bill into 12 equal and predictable payments for qualifying customers.

·         Online statement and payments so customers can conveniently make payments electronically.

·         Energy assistance programs that may provide help to customers in need.

Energy assistance and Project Share grants can help qualifying customers, along with Avista’s CARES program and our partnership with local community action agencies for weatherization, heating system improvements and financial assistance.

Customers can monitor their energy use through online energy management tools, such as the Bill Analyzer or Home Energy Advisor. Avista also offers a number of energy efficiency programs and rebates to help customers save energy and operate their homes and businesses more efficiently.

For more information on all of Avista’s bill assistance tools and energy assistance options including eligibility and guidelines, visit www.avistautilities.com/assistance or call (800) 227-9187.

 

NW Natural Reaches 700,000 Total Customer Milestone

PORTLAND, Ore. – Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba NW Natural (NYSE:NWN), announced today that it’s now serving 700,000 customers throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

NW Natural first brought gas to this region 155 years ago to light gas lamps on Portland city streets and in homes and businesses. Today, natural gas is an abundant and efficient energy source for residential and commercial space heating, water heating and cooking. And it plays an important role in manufacturing and transportation.

“We thank our customers for giving us the opportunity to serve their energy needs with safe, reliable and affordable natural gas,” said Gregg Kantor, NW Natural President and CEO. “We grew up here, and we look forward to continuing to grow with the region.”

Here’s a look back at customer milestones leading up to 700,000:  

* In 1961, just five years after natural gas arrived in the Pacific Northwest, we reached 100,000 customers.

* In 1973, we reached 200,000 customers as we headed toward completing our new headquarters in 1979.

* In 1989, a Vancouver, Wash., family became our 300,000th customer.

* In 2000, NW Natural helped Portland Public Schools convert its first school to natural gas and celebrated 500,000 customers with a party in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

* In 2005, we brought natural gas to Coos Bay with our 600,000th customer.

Visit https://www.nwnatural.com/uploadedFiles/We_Grew_Up_Here.pdf for a more complete look at NW Natural’s company history.

Over the next seven days, NW Natural will celebrate reaching 700,000 customers by tweeting a daily customer milestone using the hashtag #Celebrating700KCustomers. Twitter users who retweet the milestones will be entered into a daily drawing for a gift card.

First Freeze a Good Reminder to Think About Efficiency at Home Says NW Natural

PORTLAND, Ore. – As temperatures dip below freezing for the first time this season, NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) reminds customers of ways they can save even more on their home heating bills.

“Our customers already save more than 60 percent on their energy bills by choosing to heat their homes with natural gas instead of using an oil or electric furnace,” said Dawn Johnson, NW Natural public information officer. “They can shrink energy costs even further with energy-efficiency improvements.”

Here are five steps customers can take towards big savings:

1. Have natural gas appliances and vents inspected by a qualified, licensed contractor annually

2. Clean furnace filters at least four times during the heating season

3. Turn down the thermostat when away from home to trim heating costs 3 percent for every degree drop

4. Seal air leaks and add insulation to save up to 20 percent on heating costs

5. Consider upgrading to high-efficiency windows to reduce heating costs up to 15 percent.

For help customizing and managing home energy-saving efforts, customers can log into NW Natural’s online Energy Analyzer at https://www.nwnatural.com/Residential/SaveEnergyAndMoney/EnergyAnalyzerTool. The tool makes it possible to plan efficiency projects based on how much time and money they want to invest and to track actual savings online. NW Natural also connects customers with programs to offset the cost of energy-saving improvements. For details, visit https://www.nwnatural.com/Residential/SaveEnergyAndMoney.

Smell. Go. Let us know.

Remember, if you smell rotten eggs, it may be a gas leak. Leave the area on foot then call the NW Natural emergency number at 800.882.3377.

Puget Sound Energy, Totem Ocean Sign LNG Fuel Supply Agreement

Bellevue, Wash.  – Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington state’s oldest local energy company, and Totem Ocean Trailer Express (Totem Ocean) today announced they have signed a contract for PSE to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel Totem Ocean’s two Tacoma, Washington-based Orca-class cargo ships. PSE will provide Totem Ocean with fuel for their ships that are being converted from diesel to cleaner-burning LNG. Using LNG will allow Totem Ocean to exceed new, stricter emission standards in the maritime shipping industry.

“PSE is excited to be working with a company like Totem Ocean that shares so many of our values,” said Paul Wiegand, PSE Senior Vice President, Energy Operations. “We are both proud to be a part of this community, sharing a long history as employers in Tacoma, Pierce County and the region and a commitment to environmental innovation.”

PSE is working to develop a new, state-of-the-art LNG production and storage facility at the Port of Tacoma to ensure continued dependable natural gas service for the company’s 760,000 residential and commercial natural gas customers by providing additional gas supply during times of peak demand. The facility will also meet the LNG supply needs of Totem Ocean and other potential transportation customers. A property lease with the Port of Tacoma was approved in August 2014 and environmental review of the proposed facility has begun. Construction is expected to take about three years once all agreements are finalized and permits have been obtained.

“In order to reduce our environmental impact, Totem Ocean is converting its ships to operate on LNG and we are excited to be partnering with PSE.” said John Parrott, Totem Ocean President. “PSE’s new facility will provide vital new infrastructure making the use of LNG as a transportation fuel a reality in the Pacific Northwest.”

In 2012, Totem Ocean announced plans to upgrade its two existing cargo vessels to run on LNG. This innovative and environmentally friendly investment will help Totem Ocean lower their emissions to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new air emissions standards and improve air quality for the people and communities they serve.

Avista Grants Awarded to Benefit Local Youth Programs

Spokane, Wash.—The Avista Fund will distribute a total of $7,700 in grant money to local youth organizations. The Avista Fund grants directly benefit the people who live in and around Sanders County.

This year, 15 different applications for funds were submitted and the following organizations were awarded Avista Fund grants:

  • Dixon High School: $700 to purchase Lego robotics materials that support the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum, allowing students to participate in project based learning through design and problem solving.
  • Noxon Elementary School: $1500 to support the building of an outdoor classroom that will be used by all grades and the community during non-school hours.
  • Plains High School: $750 for digital display case to showcase students work throughout the year as well as communicate important school and community announcements.
  • Sanders County Health Department: $1,500 to support the backpack program which provides chronically hungry children with weekend meals.
  • Thompson Falls Trap Club: $1,000 in supplies for junior program to promote safety, training, leadership and sportsmanship skills to junior members of the club.

“Avista is pleased to award grant dollars to these great community projects this year. The decision on whom to award is not easy for our review committee and we wish we had funds for all of the applicants. We enjoy seeing the kids in the community we live and work in benefit from these local investments,” said Tim Swant, Avista’s Manager of the Clark Fork Project.

The Avista Fund with the Montana Community Foundation originated on 2009 as part of our ongoing commitment to the communities around Avista’s Clark Fork project area, which includes Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge dams on the Clark Fork River.

FortisBC starts construction of expanded Tilbury LNG Facility

SURREY, BC– FortisBC – a subsidiary of Fortis Inc. – officially started construction of its $400-million Tilbury LNG Facility expansion project today. The company is adding 1.1 million gigajoules of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to storage and 34,000 gigajoules per day of liquefaction capacity.

FortisBC marked the occasion with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia; Delta Mayor Lois Jackson; as well as Scott Hamilton, MLA North Delta; and Vicki Huntington,
MLA South Delta.

FortisBC Energy Inc. operates the only two LNG facilities in Western Canada. The existing Tilbury LNG Facility opened in 1971 and has safely operated in Delta, B.C. for the last 43 years. The expanded liquefaction plant will be powered by electric drives and the facility will be air-cooled eliminating the need for cooling water.

The expansion allows FortisBC to meet the growing demand for natural gas for transportation, as an energy solution for remote communities and for the marketplace. The project also supports the Government of British Columbia’s goal of creating a strong LNG industry in the province.

“As demand for natural gas increases around the world, British Columbia is uniquely positioned to take advantage. FortisBC’s investment is a vote of confidence in B.C.’s growing LNG industry, both for export and domestic use,” said Premier Christy Clark.

Over the last five years, FortisBC has seen a significant growth in the demand for natural gas from the transportation sector as companies look to reduce fleet costs and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

To date, FortisBC has announced more than $17.5 million in incentives for approximately 400 heavy-duty LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, as well as incentives for five marine vessels. Heavy-duty customers Vedder Transport Ltd., Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. and Denwill Enterprises Inc. acquire LNG from the existing Tilbury LNG facility.

FortisBC LNG is also increasingly being used as a cleaner, more efficient and less expensive energy source by remote communities with no access to natural gas pipeline systems.

Inuvik in the Northwest Territories is offsetting its diesel-fuel utility operations using LNG transported from Tilbury. Residents of Revelstoke could also soon enjoy more stable energy bills and cleaner burning fuel, pending the results of FortisBC’s evaluation followed by a BC Utilities Commission application to convert the community to natural gas from piped propane.

FortisBC is in a unique position to meet demand by leveraging its existing infrastructure to rapidly and cost-effectively increase the supply of LNG to these growing markets.

FortisBC’s parent company Fortis Inc. has long seen the potential in British Columbia and has approximately $8 billion invested in B.C. energy infrastructure which directly benefits B.C. taxpayers. In 2014 alone, Fortis Inc. will invest another $600 million in B.C.

“Our investments and the market potential for LNG as a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly fuel source provides benefits for British Columbians – including our existing utility customers,” said John Walker, Executive Vice
President, Western Canadian Operations, Fortis Inc. “FortisBC LNG is helping B.C. businesses increase their competitive position, while the increased demand will bring rate benefits for our nearly one million natural gas customers across the province.”

Additional volumes of natural gas moving through FortisBC’s pipeline system as a result of this increased LNG demand will result in better year-round utilization of FortisBC’s infrastructure and help keep natural gas delivery rates stable for all customers, added Walker.

The expansion will bring job creation and economic benefits to the community of Delta.

“The expansion of the Tilbury LNG Facility will bring skilled jobs to our community, providing further opportunities for growth amongst our local trades and technical sector,” said Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “This prime location and excellent infrastructure truly position Delta as the municipality of emerging opportunities.”

Construction will begin immediately. FortisBC anticipates that LNG from the expanded facility will supply transportation customers by the fourth quarter of 2016.

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Throughput

What it means: Volume of natural gas that may be carried on a pipeline over a period of time. All gas volumes delivered.

See it in action: Natural gas pipelines operate within a range of pressures in order to send more or less gas to consumers based on demand.  Meaning the total throughput on a pipeline in a given day, week, or month may vary widely, depending on if customers are turning up their furnaces or lounging in the sun.

If it’s cold outside gas demand is typically higher, meaning more gas will be packed into the pipeline at the producer end to be brought to market, thus increasing throughput.

Gas use in the Northwest peaks during the winter months, so that’s when you can expect to see the highest throughputs on pipelines serving our region.