Northwest Utilities Renew Commitment to Regional Energy Efficiency Efforts

$2 Billion Forecast for Energy Efficiency over Next Five Years in Northwest

May 04, 2010, 14:50 ET from Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

PORTLAND, Ore., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) announced that 13 regional energy organizations have pledged to renew their investment in NEEA with $192 million for the 2010-2014 period. NEEA's funding backs an aggressive plan to save the region 200 average megawatts (aMW) of power by 2014 at a projected cost of under 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, enough energy to power 138,000 homes for a year, and at a cost less than any other type of generation source. NEEA's funding organizations are based in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington and represent about 130 regional public utilities on behalf of Northwest energy consumers.

"Investments in energy efficiency are helping to lay the groundwork for a new energy future for America," said U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi. "By continuing to promote energy-efficient technologies, the Northwest is helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while creating green jobs and driving our economy forward."

Working through NEEA, the region has already saved a substantial amount of energy. From 1997 through 2008, the Northwest achieved 264 aMW of energy savings through its regional efforts, which is enough energy to power the cities of Spokane and Tacoma, Washington or 182,000 homes each year. These energy savings were achieved at a cost of about two cents per kilowatt-hour. Including the investment in NEEA, the region as a whole is expected to spend roughly $2 billion on new energy efficiency programs by 2014.

"We are humbled, energized, challenged and delighted," NEEA Executive Director Claire Fulenwider said. "We will use our increased funding to deepen market transformation for energy efficiency, create green jobs, directly support the region's Sixth Power Plan and strengthen the Northwest economy by helping to secure low power rates for energy consumers for the long term."

NEEA's five-year business plan outlines how NEEA will work to increase the market adoption of energy-efficient products and services through collaboration, and to increase the availability of new energy-efficient technologies. In addition, NEEA's work will focus on improving both knowledge and capabilities in the market through education and training. NEEA's efforts will help its utility funders and states meet their own energy efficiency goals.

"The world's most successful regional energy efficiency initiative certainly deserves this vote of confidence, which will deliver dividends in lower bills and pollution for decades to come," said Ralph Cavanagh, co-director, Natural Resources Defense Council. "Kudos to the Northwest utilities for this investment in our future."

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC), a four-state organization that advises the Bonneville Power Administration and is responsible for creating a 20-year power plan for the region, recently adopted its Sixth Power Plan, projecting power supply and demand for the next 20 years. The Plan envisions that 58 percent of the new demand for electricity over the next five years could be met through energy efficiency measures. Over the 20-year horizon, the Power Plan calls for energy efficiency to meet 85 percent of the Northwest's new demand for power.  

"Meeting the aggressive efficiency targets laid out in the Sixth Power Plan will require greater regional collaboration and commitment than ever before," said Melinda Eden, Northwest Power and Conservation Council member and NEEA board member. "This five-year funding commitment ensures that NEEA's vital market-transformation work will continue to help the region meet our long-term energy saving goals."

NEEA is supported by the region's electric utilities, public benefits administrators, state governments, public interest groups and efficiency industry representatives. The organization's market transformation efforts encompass the residential, commercial and industrial sectors in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. NEEA's initiatives include increasing market share for energy-efficient heating and cooling technologies, promoting energy-efficient new homes, growing the number of high performance commercial buildings and encouraging the development and adoption of more efficient industrial processes.

Regional Support for NEEA's Renewed Funding

The following funders and stakeholders have offered a supporting quote for this news. List of official names of supporters here (ordered alphabetically):

Avista Utilities (direct funder)

"Energy efficiency in the Northwest is the common denominator that brings our region together through NEEA," says Roger Woodworth, vice president for sustainable energy solutions at Avista Utilities and current NEEA board chairperson. "NEEA's five-year business plan earned our support because it offers to improve our environment, create green jobs and drive economic growth by capturing real and lasting energy savings for our customers and the region. By collaborating on NEEA's regional initiatives, we'll make a positive difference for every customer we serve."

Bonneville Power Administration (direct funder)

"Energy efficiency is the least expensive, first choice in energy resources. It's good for the environment and it's good for your pocketbook," says Mike Weedall, BPA vice president of energy efficiency. "Successful partnerships with NEEA and other stakeholders in the region are the main reason the Northwest has served as a national leader in conservation for decades. With partnerships such as this, the region is positioned to meet the new, aggressive energy efficiency targets for public power."

Cowlitz County PUD (direct funder)

"NEEA's effort to develop incentive programs for energy-efficient ductless heat pump systems has led to a very popular rebate program with Cowlitz PUD customers," said Brian Skeahan, general manager, Cowlitz County PUD and NEEA board member. "NEEA is also a leader in improving the efficiency standards for consumer electronics, including big screen TVs. Its work will help Cowlitz and all utilities in the region educate customers on how to shop for more efficient TVs and other electronics."

Energy Trust of Oregon (direct funder)

"Our collaboration with NEEA has delivered significant energy efficiency savings benefitting the Portland General Electric and Pacific Power customers we serve in Oregon. While not often visible to the consumer, NEEA's initiatives work behind the scenes to transform the market and make way for the next generation of energy efficiency technologies. Energy Trust of Oregon leverages NEEA's programs to accomplish our energy-saving goals in Oregon. We consider NEEA a great asset to Oregon and the Northwest and we look forward to our continued collaboration to accomplish cost savings for Oregon utility customers," said Margie Harris, executive director, Energy Trust of Oregon and NEEA board member.

Eugene Water and Electric Board (direct funder)

"NEEA brings the market power of the region to our customers," said Bill Welch, manager of the Eugene Water & Electric Board's energy management services department. "Our efficiency programs, while highly successful, have almost no ability to increase the availability of new energy technologies, training and services on their own. That's just one of the many reasons why we at EWEB strongly support the market adoption work NEEA is proposing in its five-year business plan and the value it brings to our customers."

Natural Resources Defense Council (partner)

"The world's most successful regional energy efficiency initiative certainly deserves this vote of confidence, which will deliver dividends in lower bills and pollution for decades to come," said Ralph Cavanagh, co-director, Natural Resources Defense Council. "Kudos to the Northwest utilities for this investment in our future."

Northwest Power and Conservation Council (partner)

"Meeting the aggressive efficiency targets laid out in the Sixth Power Plan will require greater regional collaboration and commitment than ever before," said Melinda Eden, Northwest Power and Conservation Council member and NEEA board member. "This five-year funding commitment ensures that NEEA's vital market-transformation work will continue to help the region meet our long-term energy-saving goals."

NorthWestern Energy (direct funder)

"This is the beginning of an exciting new era for energy efficiency, due in part to NEEA's planned market transformation efforts," said Bob Rowe, CEO of NorthWestern Energy. "We are proud to support NEEA's five-year business plan, which will help us deliver energy-efficiency technologies, education and support to our customers. This will better enable our customers to save energy and money, as well as reduce their environmental impacts."

Pacific Power (direct funder)

"The funding is important for the region because the sooner we capture these energy efficiencies, the more benefit customers in the Northwest will realize," said Pat Egan, vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power and NEEA board member. "NEEA will put these dollars to use quickly both in doing projects and in helping all Northwest customers learn about living more efficiently. These investments will pay dividends for the entire region by reducing power bills."

Puget Sound Energy (direct funder)

"The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is an important partner for our company and utilities across the region in our quest to help consumers adopt new ways to be wiser users of energy. Our goal is the pursuit of regional strategies that transform products, technologies and practices that allow energy efficiency to fulfill its promise of being the least cost resource," said Cal Shirley, vice president of energy efficiency services for Puget Sound Energy and NEEA board member. "The alliance continues to demonstrate its expertise in helping us penetrate the marketplace. And it helps us to work together on delivering cost-effective energy-efficiency products and services to our customers and the region in ways that we may not be able attain as individual organizations."

Seattle City Light (direct funder)

"NEEA has provided 10 solid years of success to the electricity users in Seattle and the Northwest region," said Robert Balzar, director of conservation resources, Seattle City Light and NEEA board member. "We congratulate NEEA on a successful business plan development for the next five years. We see solid benefits for the citizens of Seattle as NEEA continues to transform energy markets in the region."

Snohomish County PUD (direct funder)

"Energy efficiency continues to be the most cost-effective resource for this region and for our utility, so we are very pleased to support and collaborate on this aggressive Northwest effort through NEEA," said Craig Smith, past NEEA board chair and assistant general manager of Snohomish County PUD. "While energy efficiency helps our region broadly meet its power planning goals, it also helps us meet our own cost-effective targets. Together, we can make a visible difference in all of our local communities."

Tacoma Power (direct funder)

"NEEA's leadership in transforming markets to accept new energy efficiency technologies is essential for the financial and environmental health of the Northwest," said Theodore C. Coates, Tacoma Power superintendent. "We heartily support the funding of NEEA's aggressive five-year business plan goals and expect our customers will directly benefit as we begin to expand our conservation programs to include the new technologies targeted by the plan."

U.S. Department of Energy (partner)

"Investments in energy efficiency are helping to lay the groundwork for a new energy future for America," said U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi. "By continuing to promote energy-efficient technologies, the Northwest is helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while creating green jobs and driving our economy forward."

For more information, please see www.nwalliance.org.

About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a non-profit organization funded by Bonneville Power Administration (representing ~130 public utilities), the Energy Trust of Oregon (working on behalf of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power) and the following 11 utilities: Avista Utilities, Clark Public Utilities, Cowlitz County PUD, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Idaho Power Company, NorthWestern Energy, PacifiCorp, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Snohomish County PUD and Tacoma Power. We work in collaboration with our stakeholders and strategic market partners to accelerate the market adoption of energy-efficient products, technologies and practices within homes, business and industry.

SOURCE Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance



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http://www.nwalliance.org