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Northwest Utilities Renew Commitment to Regional Energy Efficiency Efforts

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance has announced that 13 regional energy organizations have pledged to renew their investment in NEEA with $192 million for the 2010-2014 period

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance has 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 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)
  • Bonneville Power Administration (direct funder)
  • Cowlitz County PUD (direct funder)
  • Energy Trust of Oregon (direct funder)
  • Eugene Water and Electric Board (direct funder)
  • Natural Resources Defense Council (partner)
  • Northwest Power and Conservation Council (partner)
  • NorthWestern Energy (direct funder)
  • Pacific Power (direct funder)
  • Puget Sound Energy (direct funder)
  • Seattle City Light (direct funder)
  • Snohomish County PUD (direct funder)
  • Tacoma Power (direct funder)
  • U.S. Department of Energy (partner)
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