February 2024 Newsletter – Spring Conference, new blog post, and more rate cases 


Spring 2024 Clean & Affordable Energy Conference

Join us on May 7 in Boise for our Spring Conference! Network with peers in the clean energy community and hear from experts on the pressing energy issues in our region. Panelists will discuss next steps in Columbia basin salmon recovery and decarbonizing our energy system, how new opportunities in broader power markets and transmission can benefit Northwest communities, and protecting utility customers and communities as the region decarbonizes and changes rates and regulatory structures.   

Members of the NW Energy Coalition are encouraged to join our Member Meeting on May 7 from 8am – 10am. 

In the States, on the Ground


New Chief Executive Officer at Seattle City Light 

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed Dawn Lindell to be General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light.  Before coming to City Light, Ms. Lindell served for three and half years as the General Manager at Burbank Water and Power in California and was at the Western Area Power Administration for over a decade in various leadership roles and with some information technology focus. Ms. Lindell was also a manager of information technology services at Colorado Springs Utilities.  This is a critically important position for both the community of Seattle and for the leadership City Light provides across the region. NWEC looks forward to getting to know Dawn and understanding her commitments to reducing energy burdens on highly impacted communities, leaning in to restore salmon and other fish and wildlife, advancing customer resources to decarbonize the energy system, and developing affordable clean renewable resources. 

General Rate Cases 

Two utilities, Avista and Puget Sound Energy, have filed general rate cases (GRC) with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission this year. In Avista’s initial filings, the company plans to increase the monthly customer charge from $9 per month to $15 per month in year one, and to $20 per month in year two. The Coalition is intervening in Avista’s GRC, along with The Energy Project, the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, Sierra Club, and Walmart.  

Initial filings in PSE’s GRC show the company plans to increase rates by 17% and 20% over two years for its residential electric and gas customers, respectively. Stay tuned for more details about both GRCs in the coming months. As usual, we’ll be advocating for fair rate design for customers, as well as ensuring equity and decarbonization are rightfully prioritized. 

Source: Larry Syverson/ flickr


On February 8th, the Oregon Senate confirmed Governor Tina Kotek’s nominee, Les Perkins, to fill the vacant seat on the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Perkins brings a unique perspective to the PUC, having served as County Commissioner in Hood River, Oregon, and as General Manager for the Farmers Irrigation District. There is no shortage of work as the PUC continues to guide implementation of HB 2021, including investor-owned utilities’ Clean Energy Plans to transition to a decarbonized energy system. We look forward to working with Commissioner Perkins to advance a clean, equitable, and affordable energy transition in Oregon.  

Source: Linkedin


Public comments were due this month on Idaho Power Company’s 2023 Integrated Resource Plan, which details the utility’s 20-year plans to optimize supply and demand-side resources to meet its anticipated load growth in its service territory. As detailed in our October newsletter, Idaho Power’s Preferred Portfolio includes a mix of clean energy, customer-focused programs, new transmission lines, and converting coal plants to gas power. In spite of the costs and risks of new fossil fuel generation, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff comments called for analysis of adding additional coal and gas to IPC’s Preferred Portfolio, but ultimately recommended acknowledgment of the IRP. 


The recent Columbia River Basin agreement sets a path to restore salmon in the Columbia and Snake River basins and modernize our energy system, with implications for Montana and our entire region. A recent op-ed in Kalispell’s Daily Inter Lake by Diego Rivas, the Coalition’s Regulatory Counsel, provides perspective for what this means for BPA customers in Montana. Read the full story to learn how a diverse mix of new clean energy resources, and a more-unified Western electricity market, can maintain affordability and improve reliability as our region meets its climate and salmon recovery goals. 

Source: David J Laporte / Flickr


Last month’s dangerous cold snap, coupled with another low year for hydropower, put our energy system to the test. In our latest blog post, we analyze how these converging trends point to the need to invest in more diverse, clean customer-side energy resources to increase grid resiliency, especially during growing winter and late-summer demand peaks. We first want to acknowledge those personally affected by the extreme weather and send a thank you to the utility system workers and operators who worked hard in stressful conditions to keep our region safe and warm. 

Source: Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard

NW Energy Coalition – Member Spotlight 


McKinstry joined the NW Energy Coalition as an organizational member in December 2023. They are a construction and energy services company dedicated to innovating waste and climate harm out of the built environment. McKinstry is committed to a zero-carbon future and to taking action in the face of the mounting climate, affordability and equity crises.  

Through nearly 65 years of collaborative partnerships and an outcomes-driven focus, McKinstry has developed a platform of integrated services that remove barriers in the way of achieving decarbonization. They also believe transformation requires collective action across all interested parties within the energy industry and community. This is what led them to join the NW Energy Coalition this past year.  

The Coalition team has worked alongside McKinstry for a number of years through our work on energy efficiency in buildings in Washington State and around the region. We are excited to welcome them as one of our newest member organizations and to continue our work together this year! 

Coalition Staff’s Favorite Winter Activity!

Alessandra de la Torre, Policy Associate

Mine is going up skiing solo! I used to do everything in my power to go with someone and this year I have found so much empowerment going on my own. This is from Mt. Ashland this year celebrating my birthday at my own pace and enjoying my own company.

Nancy Hirsh, Executive Director

My daughter Rachel and I cross country skiing in the Methow Valley this winter.

Charlee Thompson, Policy Associate 

I love deepening my yoga practice in the cold months—it offers indoor movement, community, and mindfulness (which all keep me sane during the gloom!)

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