2022 NW Energy Coalition Awards & New Members
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported the Coalition with a donation in 2022. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about legacy giving, please contact Beth@nwenergy.org.
Bob Olsen Memorial Conservation Eagle Award
The Eagle is awarded annually to recognize individual or organizational leadership for a clean, affordable, and equitable energy future.
The 2022 award goes to: The Energy Project
Doug Still Memorial Community Organizing Award
Doug Still was a founder of the Coalition and a community organizer for over 60 years. This award honors individuals or organizations for their commitment to directly engaging citizens in taking action for a clean, affordable, and equitable energy future.
The 2022 award goes to:
Alessandra de la Torre (top),
Nikita Daryanani (middle), &
Alma Pinto (bottom)
The Headwaters award honors achievement and leadership by a person who is directly involved in NWEC and who excels in advancing our collective goals and mission. And by Headwaters, we are of course, talking about the headwaters of the Columbia River in Columbia Lake in BC – at an elevation of 2,690 ft above sea level.
The 2022 award goes to: Nicole Hughes
Emerging Clean Energy Leaders
This award honors individuals who are emerging leaders advancing clean energy in the Northwest.
The 2022 award goes to:
Jaimini Parekh (top) &
Mason Rolph (bottom)
Welcome to our new Coalition members!
The Coalition is pleased to welcome The Clean Energy Transition Institute and the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to the Coalition.
In the States, on the Ground
The Washington State legislative session kicked off on January 9. Here are our priorities for the 2023 legislative session:
Investments in clean energy and building retrofits
This year’s legislative session is a “long session” of 105 days, which is when the capital and operating budgets are passed. This year is the first one in which Climate Commitment Act revenue is available to fund climate projects. The NW Energy Coalition will be focusing our advocacy on ensuring these funds are allocated to projects with emission reduction impacts that also save customers money, such as weatherization, public building retrofits, heat pump incentives, and transportation incentives for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
Energy siting and transmission
This year is shaping up to be an important one for discussions around clean energy siting and transmission. NW Energy Coalition will engage in efforts to define reforms to clean energy project review, identify siting opportunities that balance many stakeholder interests, accelerate and strengthen the permitting process, and diagnose the future need and current capability of the transmission system. Two bills of interest are HB 1216 and SB 5165.
The Washington Solar Energy Industries Association (WASEIA) has released its platform for the legislative session, which NW Energy Coalition supports. The platform includes proposals to raise the solar net metering threshold, increase project size limits, expand access to virtual net metering, transition to a value of solar compensation methodology, add consumer protections, and direct any excess net metering credits to low-income customers, Tribes, and nonprofits.
Preventing utility disconnections during high heat
The Attorney General’s Office has announced they will request a bill to prohibit water and energy utility disconnections during days expected to have very high temperatures, and reconnect customers who have been previously disconnected during these high-heat events. NW Energy Coalition supports this effort.
There are a number of proposals to fund and advance restoration projects to improve salmon populations. Governor Inslee’s biennial budget proposal includes funding for the Department of Commerce to evaluate and plan for energy replacement resources for when the lower Snake River dams are removed. NW Energy Coalition will be working with the Governor’s office and policymakers to ensure that this budget proposal is as effective as possible in supporting new clean energy and storage resources.
The Oregon State legislative session will kick off today, January 17. Here are our priorities for the 2023 legislative session:
RE-Building Task Force
The RE-Building Task Force was established during last year’s legislative session by SB 1518. The task force has been hard at work to determine how to reduce emissions from new and existing buildings in the state. The task force released a draft report earlier in December. Bills will be developed from the concepts considered by the task force and will be introduced when the legislative session starts in January.
Clean Lighting Bill
Appliance Standard Awareness Project (ASAP) has proposed a bill to phase out the use of linear fluorescent lamps due to their mercury content. The bill would also result in energy savings and emissions reductions, and follows similar legislation recently adopted in California.
Other things to keep an eye on:
Portland General Electric Securitization Bill
We expect Portland General Electric to propose a bill around securitization. A bill draft that was shared with NWEC seeks to allow a utility, with the approval of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC), to issue bonds and securitize debt for costs and expenses associated with events subject to federal or state declaration of emergency (think fires or ice storms). PGE has been discussing the issue with many stakeholders and we expect the bill to come up early in the session.
Oregon Siting Bill
As in Washington, there are many discussions in Oregon about clean energy siting. NW Energy Coalition has been, and will continue to, engage and assess any proposals that may arise from discussions.
Congress’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide a massive amount of new funding to the state of Oregon. There will no doubt be many discussions about how to allocate those new federal funds.
Intermountain Gas filed a general rate case to increase rates, largely in response to considerably higher wholesale prices, a theme throughout the region that the Coalition is monitoring. Coalition member Idaho Conservation League has intervened in the case largely to scrutinize and comment on the Company’s efficiency spending and line-end extension recovery. The Coalition intervened in Intermountain’s last general rate case, pushing them to launch an energy efficiency program based on more than just fuel switching and will be monitoring the docket.
The Montana State legislative session kicked off on January 2. Here are our priorities for the 2023 legislative session:
Energy efficiency resource standard
The 2021 energy efficiency resource standard bill, SB 292 carried by Senator Chris Pope, passed the Senate Energy Committee but lost on a tie vote on the Senate floor 25-25. Senator Pope will be bringing back the bill again this session in hopes of prioritizing energy efficiency as a go-to resource.
Electric vehicle charging standards
Currently, an electric vehicle service provider cannot collect payment by the kilowatt-hour to charge electric vehicles. The Coalition is working with Senator Chris Pope to remove this statutory prohibition to allow for the most-common and fairest form of electric vehicle charging.
Other things to keep an eye on:
In 2021, the legislature repealed the requirement for any new nuclear facility to receive public support via referendum. In the meantime, the energy interim committee conducted a study of nuclear energy technology, though reached no consensus on how to move forward. With interest in utilizing the Colstrip Generating Station as a location for small modular reactors (SMRs), we expect the 2023 legislature to attempt to prop up the industry.
Colstrip has often dominated the energy committees in the Montana legislature over the last decade. We expect 2023 to be similar as the aging resource continues to be uneconomical and is facing shutdown.
Representative Steve Gunderson (R-Libby) has submitted paperwork to introduce a bill removing the right to a “clean and healthful” environment from Montana’s constitution. Furthermore, rumors continue to swirl that an attempt to eliminate the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) will come forward.
In a flurry of activity before the holidays, the Northwest witnessed several important victories for a clean, affordable, and equitable energy future last month:
- On December 16, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) adopted standards for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The standards will ensure that charging will be consistent and straightforward. The final rule will go in effect on January 1, 2024. To learn more, click here.
- On December 19, both Washington and Oregon took the next step towards a cleaner and more equitable transportation system. They both joined California in adopting Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII). ACCII requires, by model year 2035, every new light-duty vehicle sold in the state to be a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV), which includes battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles. Owners of gas cars will not be forced to give them up, but far more ZEVs will be available by phasing in the sale of new ZEVs. Washington also adopted two other clean vehicle standards. To learn more, click here.
- On December 22, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission ruled on Puget Sound Energy’s electric and gas general rate case, approving a settlement. The settlement accomplished several important steps, including provisions towards gas decarbonization, targeted electrification, equity, and more. The NW Energy Coalition intervened with Front and Centered, Sierra Club, and EarthJustice.
Winter in the Northwest brings cold, gray skies, and plenty of rain and snow. Here a few ways the NW Energy Coalition staff staves off the gloominess through the winter months:
Amy Wheeless: Sledding
Annabel Drayton: Backcountry skiing
Charlee Thompson: Yoga
Diego Rivas: Skiing
Nancy Hirsh: Cross-country skiing
Beth Brooks: Montana cabin
Marli Klass: Snowboarding