Northwest Power and Conservation Council seeks comments on direct natural gas use, aka 'fuel switching'

As it develops the 7th Plan, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council is releasing a series of issue papers for public comment. This week the Council released its “Direct Use of Natural Gas Analysis,” with a comment period running through Feb. 20.


Despite the potential thermal efficiencies of direct use (think of heating a pan of water on a natural gas burner versus using the gas to generate electricity that powers the burner), the Council has never considered switching from electric to gas heat to be conservation. That’s because relative costs (“economic efficiency) vary from situation to situation. From its 1st Plan forward, the Council has found that the two fuel markets are “reasonably competitive” and should not be interfered with.


The current issue paper is accompanied by a contractor’s report and an analytical spreadsheet. Council members will consider whether to revise the “fuel switching isn’t conservation” policy for the 7th Plan.
To read the paper and related analyses, and to provide comments, click here.


To see comments, including those from the NW Energy Coalition, on earlier issue papers:
  • Click here for comments on “High Level Indicators for the Power Plan.”
  • Click here for comments on “Methodology for Determining Environmental Costs and Benefits.”