Early results from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s 7th Power Plan analysis once again illustrate the tremendous value energy efficiency brings to our region. Some 1,300–1,450 average megawatts of cost-effective energy efficiency should be available over the next five years.To assure the cleanest and most affordable 7th Plan, the NW Energy Coalition recently submitted an initial set of energy efficiency action recommendations to the Council.
7th Northwest Power and Conservation Plan
Coalition analysis: 7th Power Plan model minimizes looming coal plant costs, ignores out-of-region generators
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s 7th Plan will serve as a guide for choosing the best resources to meet electric needs over the next 20 years. A NW Energy Coalition issue paper, The True Cost of Coal: Fully accounting for coal-fired electricity use in the 7th Northwest Power and Conservation Plan, bares two shortcomings in the Council’s resource modeling that makes these polluting coal plants look cheaper than they are as a resource to meet the region’s needs.
The NW Energy Coalition and several member organizations are urging a strengthened commitment to economic equity in the 7th Power Plan. In a July 8 letter, the groups note Bonneville Power Administration’s ongoing shortfall in extending the benefits of energy efficiency measures to low- and moderate-income families. All energy customers pay for utilities’ energy efficiency programs in their bills, but those on limited incomes often cannot take advantage of the product and services incentives those programs provide.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s recent blog post outlines the preliminary results of its 20-year scenario analysis modeling. The results indicate that investments in 3,800-4,500 aMW of energy efficiency are cost-effective over the next 20 years and will help the region meet new load growth; demand response will help meet winter peaking capacity requirements; and some new power generation may be needed to replace retiring coal plants.
Scenario planning lies at the heart of the analysis used to develop the 7th Northwest Power and Conservation Plan. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council wants your help in selecting and shaping the scenarios to be used. The 7th Plan will guide utilities’ energy choices, theoretically for the next 20 years and practically for at least five. Please look over the proposed scenarios and let the Council – and us – know which ones they must consider seriously while developing the 7th Plan.
Northwest Power and Conservation Council staff expect significantly slower growth in energy demand over the next 20 years than was predicted in the 6th regional power plan five years ago. This means we can meet an even higher percentage of new load with energy efficiency – saving more money for families and businesses, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and cleanly powering our growing fleet of electric vehicles. Realizing those savings, and their benefits, will be a primary 7th Plan goal for clean and affordable energy advocates throughout the Northwest.
As part of developing the region’s 7th Power Plan, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s power committee is holding a webinar on specific generation resources tomorrow — Thursday, Jan. 29 — from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Pacific time. The posted agenda items are (1) assessment of natural gas natural gas peaking plants (single-cycle combustion turbines or SCCTs and reciprocating engines) and (2) assessment of onshore utility-scale wind.
Every five years, the region’s official power planning agency prepares an updated 20-year forecast of the Northwest’s electric power needs and a plan for how those needs should be met. The forthcoming 7th Plan will help us raise the bar higher, capitalize on our region’s clean energy success and set us on the course to a cleaner, more affordable and wildlife-friendly future. We need all hands on deck … starting now!
Northwest Power and Conservation Council seeks comments on direct natural gas use, aka 'fuel switching'
As it develops the 7th Plan, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council is releasing a series of issue papers for public comment. This week the Council released its “Direct Use of Natural Gas Analysis,” with a comment period running through Feb. 20. Despite the potential thermal efficiencies of direct use, the Council has never considered switching from electric to gas heat to be conservation.
Click here to read NWEC’s comments on the NPCC High Level Indicator issue paper.