Executive Board Caucus Report Highlights — Sept. 15, 2011


BLM releases draft EIS on Gateway line

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finally released its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Gateway West transmission project. The 1,100-mile-long high-voltage line – a joint project of Idaho Power and PacifiCorp — would run from coal country in Glenrock in southern Wyoming to Idaho Power’s substation near Melba in southwest Idaho, where another Idaho Power transmission project, Boardman-Hemingway, would lead to the Boardman area on the Columbia River

Concerns have centered on potential harm to agricultural operations, the environment and property values. Some continue to question the need for the project and the mix of private and public lands the line would cross.

The draft EIS analyzes various alternative routes, describes the purpose of the project and outlines environmental protection plans and measures. To review the draft EIS and related documents, go to www.wy.blm.gov/nepa/cfodocs/gateway_west/index.html

For more information on the Idaho Caucus report,
contact Ken Miller: kmiller (at) snakeriveralliance (dot) org



Northwestern Energy’s Request to Change QF Curtailment Language

On September 1, the Montana PSC voted 3-2 against Northwestern Energy’s petition to change curtailment language in new Qualifying Facility contracts. This proposed language would have compromised the development of new qf wind projects in Montana and would allow Northwestern to curtail power purchases from these projects under a range of economic circumstances. In his Concurring opinion, Commissioner Travis Kavulla (R-Great Falls) determined that Northwestern¹s proposed language is discriminatory against particular power purchases, overly broad in scope and is inconsistent with federal and state law.



Rulemaking underway on new BETC and RETC programs

The Oregon Department of Energy will host webinars on Sept. 19 and 21 on the new Energy Incentives Programs (formerly the Business Energy Tax Credit or BETC), and the Residential Energy Tax Credit program. Legislative action during the last session significantly changed the programs.

Webinar participants will learn more about the program changes and provide input. DOE staff will consider those comments when drafting temporary rules planned for release on early October.

For more information go to http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/Rulemaking2011-HB3672.shtml

For more information on the Oregon caucus report,
contact Jess Kincaid: jess (at) caporegon (dot) org



Legislative prep proceeds

NW Energy Coalition and its allies are preparing for the upcoming state legislative session, which will be challenge given the state’s worsening revenue situation. Issues expected to arise next session again include potential changes to I-937, the state’s clean energy law passed by public initiative in 2006.

The law currently requires larger electric utilities in the state to get 15% of their power from new, clean renewable energy by 2020 and to secure all the available cost-effective energy efficiency in their service territories. Several unsuccessful attempts to amend the law were made during the last three sessions.

Report from Coalition staff
For more information on the Washington caucus report,
contact kim drury: kim (at) nwenergy (dot) org