Giving Tuesday on November 28 and Clean Energy Awards Reception!
Giving Tuesday on November 28th!
Triple your impact from now through Giving Tuesday, November 28th. When you give, your donation helps us advance our work to transform and decarbonize Northwest communities. We continue to lead efforts to advance energy efficiency and energy equity, transportation electrification, clean buildings and clean cars, grid resilience and system reliability, and salmon restoration in the Columbia Basin.
We are deeply grateful for your support of our work. Through your donations, memberships, and participation in our organization, the Coalition continues the important work of accelerating the clean energy transition in the Northwest.
NW Energy Coalition Annual Awards 2023
Join us for our Clean Energy Awards Reception on December 6th at the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland, right after our Clean & Affordable Energy Conference that day. We look forward to seeing you at 5:00 at the DoubleTree to celebrate our awardees!
We’re pleased to announce this year’s awardees:
Headwaters Award: Todd True
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 British Columbia – at an elevation of 2,690 ft above sea level.
Todd is a senior attorney at Earthjustice’s Northwest regional office in Seattle and was one of two attorneys who opened the office in 1987. Todd is a champion for salmon recovery. Over the past 20+ years he has taken the time to learn about and understand energy system operations and how the hydropower system works. He has led long, arduous and successful litigation to avoid species extinction and recover healthy and abundant salmon populations.
Bob Olsen Memorial Conservation Eagle Award: Green Energy Institute (GEI) at Lewis and Clark Law School
The Eagle is awarded annually to recognize individual or organizational leadership for a clean, affordable, and equitable energy future. Bob Olsen was a visionary leader within the public power utility community and NWEC, and one who pushed hard to advance energy efficiency as a means to delay new power generation before conservation and efficiency were established resources.
The Green Energy Institute is known for developing smart and comprehensive legal and policy strategies to address climate change and support a swift and equitable transition to a sustainable, carbon-free energy grid. Coalition staff and the wider clean energy community have gained so much working with the GEI team over the past few years and watching them dive deep into proceedings in front of the Oregon Public Utility Commission, as well as their work on advancing clean energy policies in the state.
Front and Centered
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.
Front and Centered is a diverse and powerful coalition of communities of color-led groups across Washington State, whose missions and work come together at the intersection of equity, environmental and climate justice. Together, and with key partners the coalition actively works towards the vision for a Just Transition. Front and Centered practices equitable governance principles, guided by a Community Council which oversees Front and Centered’s portfolio of policy, programs, and capacity building efforts.
This award honors individuals who are emerging leaders advancing clean energy in the Northwest. This year, we have three awardees:
Wil is the Energy Program Manager for the City of Boise. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho. Wil is known for his consistent and strong advocacy for clean energy and for affordability and efficiency programs that deliver real benefits to those in need. He brings strong analysis and excellent diplomacy to all of his work.
Makenna is the Executive Director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association. She previously worked for Northern Plains Resource Council, where among other successes she was largely responsible for the passage of Montana’s C-PACE legislation. Makenna is a strong voice within the clean energy community and uses that voice in support of good bills and against bad ones.
Marli is an Assistant Attorney General at the Oregon Department of Justice. Previously, she was the Energy and Environmental Justice Policy Associate for the NW Energy Coalition, where she worked to build the Oregon Community Cohort, a program to bring new voices into the world of advocacy in front of the Oregon Public Utility Commission. As a Palauan woman, she has worked extensively within her community doing energy and environmental outreach.
In the States, on the Ground
On October 25th the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved, with conditions developed in a multi-party settlement, PacifiCorp’s (PAC) 2021 Clean Energy Implementation Plan (CEIP) in UTC docket UE-210829, making it the third and final CEIP from the state’s electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs). The 2021 CEIP implementation period spans from 2021-2025 and must be updated at the midway point. Accordingly, PAC submitted its 2023 CEIP Biennial Update on November 1st to show its progress towards meeting the requirements of the Clean Energy Transformation Act and the conditions outlined in the multiparty settlement stipulation.
The Coalition successfully advocated for changes to PAC’s CEIP, including bolstering distribution system planning in PAC’s WA territory, outlining a process to further identify vulnerable populations, strengthening the modeling that develops interim renewable energy targets, adding Community Benefit Indicators to measure energy burden and affordability, and improving stakeholder engagement. You can read the full list of stipulations here.
Public comments on PacifiCorp’s 2023 CEIP Biennial Update are due in docket UE-210829 by January 11, 2024 at 5pm PT.
Clean Energy Transformation Act requirements:
Portland General Electric’s (PGE) General Rate Case (GRC) produced multiple settlements which are currently before the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The Coalition intervened in this case advocating for the reinstatement of PGE’s decoupling mechanism, which was eliminated in the Company’s last GRC via settlement. A decoupling mechanism separates utility recovery of fixed costs from power sales, and is seen by many as an essential tool to remove the incentive for utilities to overlook energy efficiency as a primary resource. One of the settlement agreements included a provision requiring PGE to file a decoupling tariff within 90 days. We expect a ruling on the various settlements before the end of the year.
A settlement in Idaho Power’s first rate case in 12 years is being reviewed by the Public Utilities Commission. The Coalition intervened in the case, primarily concerned with the rate spread and rate design of the proposed rate increase. After intervening in two prior Idaho utility rate cases on similar issues, the Coalition, along with several allies, was able to reduce the proposed increases to the monthly basic charge. The proposed settlement raises this charge from $5 to $10 in 2024, and to $15 in 2025, lower than the originally proposed $15 in 2024 and $25 in 2025. The Coalition advocates for basic charges that cover only the costs of metering, billing, and customer service, leaving more costs in the variable charge, which sends stronger price signals for energy efficiency. Higher basic charges, on the other hand, disproportionally burden low-income and low-usage customers with higher energy bills despite being lower users of energy. You can read more of the details here and leave written comment by November 28th.
On October 25th, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a settlement and stipulation in the NorthWestern Energy (NWE) general rate case. Not supported by the Coalition, the approved settlement raises the average customer’s bill by 28%. The Coalition, along with co-intervenor NRDC, filed a motion for reconsideration, focusing on the final order’s ignoring of low-income issues and confusing treatment of demand-side management issues. Other parties also filed motions for reconsideration, noting that only four out of fourteen parties signed onto the approved settlement. The effects of this increase will fall on low- and moderate-income Montanan’s the most as they face not only much higher energy bills, but higher costs of goods and services as commercial businesses increase their prices to pay for NWE’s rate increase.
As the need for transmission grows in the region to facilitate widespread electrification and the clean energy transition, so too does the need for regional-focused transmission planning. The Western States Transmission Initiative (WSTI), led and facilitated by Gridworks, aims to help in the effort by increasing the understanding of regional transmission issues among Western regulators and energy policy leaders on the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation (CREPC). Ongoing webinars and meetings will inform the regulatory and policy underpinnings needed to unlock the opportunities for regional transmission development.
In a similar vein, on October 31st, the Coalition participated in two group comments on the Western Power Pool’s proposed Western Transmission Expansion Coalition Concept Paper, with both the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) focused on the Northwest, and a broad Western regional group coordinated by the Western Clean Energy Advocates (WCEA). The Coalition has long supported a unified, single market in the West, along with regional transmission planning and development to connect the region’s abundant renewable energy resources. Check out our three-part series on markets for more information.
NW Energy Coalition Member Spotlight
The Energy Project
The Energy Project (TEP) works with utilities and other stakeholders to develop and expand energy bill assistance and efficiency programs for low-income customers and vulnerable populations in Washington. Housed at the Washington State Community Action Partnership (WSCAP) and working closely with Community Action Agencies that provide rate assistance and weatherization programs to low-income utility customers, The Energy Project is a frequent party in general rate cases and other significant dockets before the UTC involving Washington investor-owned utilities when equity, energy affordability, energy efficiency, and customer service policies are at issue. TEP welcomed Shaylee Stokes as its new director earlier this year.
TEP was the 2022 recipient of NWEC’s Bob Olsen Memorial Conservation Eagle Award. NWEC deeply values having The Energy Project as one of our member organizations and we look forward to continuing our work together as “Joint Advocates” for a more equitable and affordable energy system in Washington.
Coalition Staff’s Favorite Fall Recipes!
Pumpkin Muffin Recipe from Will Gehrke – Senior Technical Analyst
- 1 ½ cups Gold Medal™ whole wheat flour
- 1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/8 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- ½ cup water
- 3 eggs
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
- In large bowl, mix flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger; make well in center of mixture. In medium bowl, stir sugar, oil, water and eggs with whisk. Stir in pumpkin; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
- Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Serve warm or cool.
For extra tips on making the muffins, click here.
Albondiga Soup Recipe from Alessandra de la Torre, Policy Associate
Cranberry Relish from Jeff Bissonette, Contractor
- 12 oz. cranberries (Oregon is the 4th largest cranberry producer nationally)
- 2 medium oranges (I like to use satsumas) – cut into quarters
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup (optional)
Put all ingredients in a food processer with the “S” blade and process until well-combined and the desired level of chunkiness is achieved. Goes great with pretty much everything else on the Thanksgiving plate.
Harira, Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup recipe from Lauren McCloy, Policy Director
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped
- Kosher salt
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 14- ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 14- ounce can chickpeas
- 7 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably low-sodium
- ¼ cup long grain rice, rinsed or ¼ cup broken vermicelli
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- In a large Dutch Oven, heat 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with kosher salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until softened.
- Add the garlic and spices and cook for a couple of 1 to 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cilantro, lentils (both green and red), and chickpeas. Add a dash more kosher salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
- Add the broth and raise the heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes or until the legumes are fully cooked and very tender (check occasionally and plan to add more stock or water. The soup will be thick, but it should not be too thick that you cannot pour it. Make sure to adjust the salt as you add more liquid.)
- Stir in the rice and cook for another 15 or until the rice is fully cooked.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
Full recipe here.
Hobakjuk (Pumpkin Porridge) recipe from Charlee Thompson, Policy Associate
- 1 kabocha squash (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)
- 6 or 7 cups water (For Instant Pot or regular cooking)
Sweet Rice Balls
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (mochi flour)
- 3 Tbsp hot boiling water
Sweet Rice Slurry
- 6 Tbsp sweet rice flour (mochi flour)
- 8 Tbsp water
- 3 Tbsp sugar (optional or use less for soup)
- 0.75 tsp Sea Salt
Follow the full recipe instructions here for both Instant pot and regular cooking versions.
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