May 2024 Newsletter – Summer interns, gas utility decarbonization, and new FERC rule


Welcome to our two summer interns! 

Soumya Keefe

Soumya started her internship with the Coalition in April of 2024 as one of two 2024 Interns. Soumya is a recent graduate of Colorado College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. Soumya is passionate about working towards more equitable and environmentally sustainable systems through thoughtful policy and centering justice. In her free time Soumya enjoys spending time outside and cooking with friends.

Micah Kruser

Micah Abdul Kruser is a recent Western Washington College of the Environment graduate who is tackling the climate agenda with NWEC. Micah’s degree in Geographic Information Systems has given him the tools to make analytical information and present how decisions affect people interacting with the environment around them. With NWEC Micah is excited to learn more about our approaches to green energy investment and the state and local discussions on implementation, alongside learning and promoting advocacy for Environmental Justice communities and their goals as productive actors shaping our ideas on sustainability and equity. 

Conference digest

Thank you to those who attended our conference earlier this month in Boise. If you weren’t able to attend, read a summary of the day’s discussions below. And save the date for our Fall 2024 Clean & Affordable Energy Conference on November 13 in Seattle, WA at the University of Washington! 

In the States, on the Ground


The Gas Utility Decarbonization policy, HB 1589, passed this year in the Washington state legislature, is a step in the right direction to support the state’s largest gas and electric utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), in a managed transition of its gas system. The law supports PSE in planning the decarbonization of its gas system and provides the electrification programs and regulatory tools. These are essential to meet state climate goals and protect customers from costly stranded gas assets. Unfortunately, misinformation has fueled ballot challenges to the law that may come before voters this November. The Coalition joined Climate Solutions and Washington Conservation Action this month in a ballot title challenge to ensure voters have accurate information on the law. For more details, check out our latest blog post below.


The updated draft agreement between the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) and Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) is open for public comment through Thursday, May 30. This will update the two organizations’ longstanding agreement with new statutory requirements from House Bill 3141, passed in 2021, which modified reporting requirements, updated accountability metrics, and shifted funding for energy efficiency, weatherization and distributed renewable energy projects from a public purpose charge to utility rate recovery. A final agreement is expected on July 1 ahead of a public meeting for final approval on July 9. To leave a public comment on the draft agreement, search for docket UM 1158 on OPUC’s website, and select “Submit Public Comment” on the docket page. 


On May 1, the Coalition, alongside South Central Community Action Partnership (SCCAP), filed a petition to intervene in Idaho Power Company’s (IPC) prudency review of its energy efficiency and demand response programs in 2023. These programs are critical to saving customers money, promoting energy conservation, and reducing peak demand pressure on Idaho’s energy system. The Coalition and SCCAP will advocate for low-income weatherization to remain a core component of IPC’s demand-side management portfolio and ensuring that all cost-effective programs are implemented. 


The final Select Committee on Energy Resource Planning and Acquisition (SCERPA) meeting was held on May 14 in Helena. SCERPA, created by NorthWestern Energy (NWE) via statute in response to a three-year rulemaking process after passage of HB 597 in 2019, was comprised of state legislators, utility representatives, a consumer advocate, an independent developer and the Coalition as the public interest organization (PIO) representative. The committee was tasked with identifying potential issues within energy resource planning, acquisition, and approval processes. The committee heard from utilities across the region, resource planning consultants, independent power producers and others and identified the establishment of an independent monitor during the resource RFP process as a “best practice” to ensure transparency and fairness. The group’s meeting culminated in PD11, a bill that revises public utility resource planning laws, and specifies duties for an independent evaluator to oversee Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Unfortunately, the draft bill was rushed through SCERPA by the utility and still needs lots of work before transparency and fairness are achieved. The draft bill also limits public participation in the IRP and RFP processes, and requires utility advisory committee meetings to be closed to the public unless the committee votes to make a meeting open. The draft is now in the hands of the Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee for its consideration. 


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently issued Order No. 1920, a new rule that’s a step in the right direction to address two major challenges for our transmission system: long-term planning and cost allocation. Both are essential to funding and building the transmission grid we need for a fully decarbonized energy system. This new rule promotes increased coordination between federal, state and Tribal governments to address these challenges for multi-state transmission projects.

The rule encourages efficiency by requiring transmission providers to consider grid enhancing technologies to maximize the existing systems efficiency. At the same time, the rule should be more explicit about the need to protect Environmental Justice communities and make FERC processes more accessible to people. 

NW Energy Coalition – Member Spotlight

Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network (COIN) 

COIN operates as a statewide network bringing together Indivisible groups from across Oregon. Their programs include voter outreach and education, supporting progressive candidates, holding elected officials accountable, and advocating for legislation that reflects progressive policies. One of COIN’s most active teams is Climate Energy Environment (CEE), which includes folks from other environmental groups as well. CEE advocates for policies and programs that address the climate crisis, defend and preserve the natural world, and advance clean and renewable energy options as alternatives to fossil fuels. They are guided by an environmental and economic justice lens that incorporates diversity, inclusion, transparency, and democratic principles. 

COIN joined the NW Energy Coalition in the fall of 2023 and we are excited to work together to address the climate crisis and support an equitable transition to clean energy in Oregon and around the region!

Staff pet highlight

Shango – Nancy Hirsh, Executive Director

Shango loves outdoor adventures, though at 14 her mountain hiking days are over. 

Luna – Beth Brooks, Development Director

Luna is a serious conversationalist, constantly commenting about birds, visitors to the porch, and especially bugs. She is also an excellent furry hot water bottle. 

Honey – Alessandra de la Torre, Policy Associate

This is my first doggy Honey! She is a 2 year old pit shepherd rescue and has made me the happiest dog mama. Honey loves to play and cuddle and will sit on you once she fully trusts you 🙂

Chai – Kat Plimpton, Outreach & Operations Director

Chai is an 11 year old tortico cat that I rescued over 10 years ago. She’s such a sweet kitty and also has the sassy attitude that tortoiseshell cats are well known for (also called tortititude!)

Cashew – Matt Joyce, Communications & Events Coordinator

Cashew has never met a box he didn’t want to sit in, a bird he didn’t want to chase, or a shelf he didn’t want to climb. Other hobbies include snuggling on laps and pets from new humans.

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