Northwest utilities and their customers continue to beat their regional energy efficiency targets and remain on-course to exceed the five-year savings goal established by the 6th Northwest Power and Conservation Plan. In 2013, the region achieved 268 average megawatts of energy efficiency. According to the region’s official power planning agency, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, that’s enough negawatts (energy savings) to satisfy the electricity needs of more than 180,000 Northwest homes.
Solar power is a real deal right now and Idaho Power got state approval for two sales contracts with developers. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the two contracts Friday for the two projects – one in Kuna and a second in Grand View – that would produce 120 megawatts, enough power to serve 83,000 average-sized homes. The projects are scheduled to be completed in 2016.
Attendees learned about influencing behavior to fulfill energy efficiency potential; discussed opportunities and challenges to cleanly replacing aging, dirty power sources, considered consumer protection and utility revenue concerns surrounding expanded solar and other distributed generation; and got up to speed on how changing the Columbia River Treaty could affect power generation and other river uses in the basin.
The NW Energy Coalition’s Founding the Future Gala looked back on the Coalition’s 33-year history through the eyes of several founding members and forward through the eyes of more recent clean energy leaders. It was also the occasion for honoring Patton’s 20-year legacy as executive director and celebrating longtime policy director Hirsh, who will move up to executive director when Patton moves on in January.
More than 100 businesses – from REI and Virginia Mason to Taylor Shellfish and Microsoft – launched a declaration calling for “climate action.” The businesses recently endorsed the Washington Business Climate Declaration, a statement by businesses and individuals on the need for action against global warming, saying, that the Northwest firms “support using energy efficiently, investing in cleaner fuels, advancing renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”