MEAN assists Paxton, Trenton gain approval for WAPA hydro allocations

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska recently assisted two of its wholesale power participants in getting approved to receive federal hydropower allocations from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

The Nebraska Villages of Paxton and Trenton were among 11 municipalities and one military base in Kansas and Nebraska that were approved to receive at-cost federal hydropower from WAPA’s Loveland Area Projects starting Oct. 1, 2024.

“Having access to the affordable hydropower resource and transmission services can be a real benefit,” said Parker Wicks, WAPA contracts and energy services manager.

Paxton and Trenton join 124 existing entities that have renewed firm electric service contracts for Loveland Area Projects hydropower. Under those contracts, customers will receive allocations of energy from 20 federal Bureau of Reclamation hydroelectric facilities in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for 30 years.

The majority of MEAN’s 62 wholesale power participants receive hydropower allocations through WAPA. These allocations are an economical and carbon-free resource of energy.

“We were pleased to be able to assist Paxton and Trenton in getting WAPA’s approval for hydropower allocations,” said MEAN Member Relations Representative Carol Brehm. “This long-term resource serves as an important asset in the energy portfolio of many MEAN participants.”

To begin receiving federal hydropower in October 2024, the new customers will need to sign a power contract by Dec. 31.

The opportunity to receive new allocations of hydropower arose from a scheduled resource pool under Loveland Area Projects’ current contract terms. The resource pool, which occurs every 10 years, withdraws up to one percent of the marketable hydropower resource from existing customers and makes it available to new customers through a public process.

Entities eligible to apply for new hydropower allocations must be a municipality, rural electric cooperative, irrigation district, public utility district, Native American Tribe or federal or state agency in the designated project area that does not currently receive a federal hydropower allocation. With the exception of Tribes, all entities must also be able to receive the power from WAPA through the power grid. The next Loveland Area Projects resource pool is scheduled for 2034.