In 2002, Western celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Western documented its first quarter of a century in "Serving the West: Western Area Power Administration's First 25 Years as a Power Marketing Agency," a book commemorating Western's founding and development into a priemer power marketing agency. Take a journey with us back to the beginning:
Hydro: A solution to the 1970's energy crisis
It was 1977. Across the United States, Americans waited in lines to buy gasoline. In Washington, D.C., newly elected President Jimmy Carter made the energy crisis the top priority of his new administration, calling it "the moral equivalent of war."
In this atmosphere, the U.S. Department of Energy was born as the agency to fight the energy battle. One weapon was hydropower. Hydroelectric plants across the West already produced clean energy for many public power utilities.
Roots in the Bureau of Reclamation
Until 1977, the Bureau of Reclamation operated the dams and powerplants, along with the vast transmission system that carried energy to where it was needed. After the Department of Energy Organization Act passed on Dec. 21, 1977, a new agency took over power marketing and transmission responsibilities. Western Area Power Administration was created to serve a 15-state region in the central and western United States.
New agency, new ways
Western built on the legacy of the Bureau of Reclamation while developing its own ways of operating and doing business. In its first 25 years as a power marketing administration, Western found innovative ways to do business, streamlining operations and taking the lead in technologies that improve transmission system reliability. See the difference in Western then and now.
Our people make our success
Western's employees have always been the reason for our success, right from the start. When Western was formed, a hard-working group of former Reclamation employees dug in and built a new agency from the bottom up. Western's history, Serving the West, is dedicated to them.
You can also check out the time capsule artifacts that show Western's transformation during its first quarter of a century.