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.

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Gasification

What it means: The process during which liquefied natural gas (LNG) is returned to its vapor or gaseous state through an increase in temperature and a decrease in pressure.

See it in action: While LNG is an excellent method for the storage and transport of natural gas; conventional use requires it to be warmed from its liquid form at -160c (-256f) back to a gas. This physical process involves slowly warming the LNG through a series of pipes and vaporizers. Four NWGA members own and operate their own LNG facilities as a means of providing extra capacity in times of high demand, they are:

  • FortisBC, on Vancouver Island and in Delta, BC
  • Intermountain Gas, in Nampa, ID
  • NW Natural, in Portland, OR and Newport, OR
  • Williams NW Pipeline in Plymouth, WA

Each facility cools natural gas down for storage during periods of low demand to be stored as LNG; once needed, this LNG undergoes gasification and is added to the system to ensure adequate supply for customers.