Generating green energy | Guest column

By Winnie Adams

Special to the Islands’ Weekly

OPALCO is in a time of major changes. As most of you know technology drives many of these changes. Changes less obvious to our members involve regional supply of power. The northwest regional electric use is reaching the peak of Bonneville Power Association’s capacity to generate power. Any energy beyond what BPA can provide from within their existing systems will be available to us at a much higher rate than we are accustomed to paying. This means that the energy each of us does not use, becomes an asset to the whole co-op in achieving our goal of together we save.

To assist each member in knowing ways to use energy efficiently, OPALCO developed the Energy Services Department. By checking, you can find descriptions of our programs which include the home energy snap shot, a list of incentives paid for energy efficiency improvements, information about energy smart appliances, a description of the Member Owned Renewable Energy program (designed to encourage local alternative energy generation and to provide for interconnection of that energy to our grid). To support OPALCO’s energy efficiency goals, Islanders Bank offers low interest home improvement loans.  All of these programs result in our members generating the greenest of the green energy, avoided use. In keeping our total use steady, we keep our rates steady.

To learn more about these programs you can join one of the San Juan County Rites of Spring the day OPALCO holds their annual meeting on the ferry. This year we will meet on May 5. This promises to be a lively event. In addition to the business of our annual meeting, we are celebrating the 75th year our co-op has been serving the islands.

Your board is democratically elected. This year all OPALCO members in the county can vote for the board members representing district two. There are three people running for the two board seats. Ballots come out on April 17 and you will have two votes, one for each board member. I would appreciate your marking one of your two votes for me. If you have questions or suggestions I can be reached at 376-4656 or by email at


– Adams is on the board of directors for OPALCO