Portland, Ore. - Since 2010, Northwest publicly owned electric utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration have saved at least 560 average megawatts of electricity, greatly surpassing the five-year goal of 504 aMW set by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Sixth Power Plan.
"Public power and BPA continue to lead the region's energy efficiency efforts," says Richard Genece, vice president of Energy Efficiency. "And this fantastic accomplishment could only be achieved through the great collaboration that we have here in the Pacific Northwest."
Although energy savings are still being reported, BPA and Northwest publicly owned electric utilities are projecting that they will have saved more than 560 aMW of electricity between 2010 and 2014. The five years of savings is enough to meet the power needs of more than 400,000 Northwest homes and adds up to at least $360 million in lower electric bills for Northwest ratepayers. The final savings achieved will be more precisely known in early 2015.
BPA and publicly owned electric utilities in the Northwest have worked hard not only to achieve but to substantially exceed the aggressive energy efficiency target.
"Public power's investment in energy efficiency has produced impressive savings in the past five years," said Scott Corwin, executive director of the Public Power Council, which represents the interests of publicly owned utilities in the Northwest. "This would not be possible without the commitment at the local level by utilities who know the needs of their retail customers."
The region's energy-saving goals are set by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which includes two members from each of the four Northwest states (Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington). BPA and Northwest publicly owned utilities administer programs that pursue cost-effective energy savings in all sectors of the economy in support of public power's share of the region's energy efficiency target. Public power utilities are responsible for roughly 42 percent of the total regional target. This includes providing incentives for energy-saving upgrades, developing and implementing cutting-edge programs, and advancing new energy-efficient technologies, codes and standards.
Since 2010, there have been a number of standouts in the region's efforts to enhance energy efficiency. Programs like BPA's award-winning Energy Smart Industrial more than doubled the savings industrial facilities achieved compared to the previous five years (from 35 to over 75 aMW). The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, an organization that furthers the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices, supported by BPA, worked to improve the efficiency of the television market in the Northwest and achieved over 70 aMW of regional savings.
Standouts notwithstanding, a commitment to working together has been the key to success.
"Whether it's an upgrade for a homeowner or a process improvement at an industrial plant, collaboration between utility and BPA staff and our members is essential to achieving the region's energy conservation goals," says Stan Price, executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, an industry association that promotes energy efficiency.
The region has exceeded the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's annual targets every year since 2005. Early reporting shows that BPA and Northwest publicly owned electric utilities saved 55 aMW of energy in fiscal year 2014, exceeding the target range of 48 to 56 aMW. (The fiscal year 2014 savings figure is preliminary and likely to be adjusted after all reporting from utilities is submitted and verified.)
"The region's impressive accomplishments are saving money for consumers, protecting the environment by helping to limit carbon emissions from power plants, and keeping our electricity supply the cleanest and least expensive in the nation," said Pat Smith, chair of the Council's Power Committee, which is overseeing development of the upcoming Seventh Power Plan.
Since Congress passed the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act in 1980, over half of the region's new demand for electricity has been met through energy savings. In those 34 years, the Northwest has saved 5,600 aMW of electricity, enough energy to power four cities the size of Seattle for an entire year or about $3.5 billion in reduced electric bills for the people and businesses of the Northwest.
"Energy efficiency is our cleanest, quickest, cheapest new power source, and critical to meeting our carbon-reduction responsibilities," said Sara Patton, NW Energy Coalition executive director. "We applaud Bonneville's continuing efforts to help the region's utilities meet and exceed their savings goals, and look forward to even greater accomplishments in coming years."
According to the Council, the average cost of efficiency improvements is about $17 per megawatt-hour, about five times less than the cost of power from a new gas-fired plant. So without energy efficiency, the region would need to generate enough additional electricity to power 3.6 million Northwest homes.
"Northwesterners should be proud of the fact that energy efficiency is the second-largest power resource in the region," Genece adds. "By using energy more efficiently, we can extend the value of the federal power system and its ability to continue to provide clean, affordable, reliable energy for the region."Attached Media Files: Since 2010, Northwest publicly owned electric utilities and BPA have saved enough electricity to meet the power needs of more than 400,000 Northwest homes, which adds up to at least $360 million in lower electric bills.