The Northwest Power and Conservation Council (Council) has developed a draft energy plan that will guide critical energy decisions and electricity resources, such as wind and solar power, in the states of Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon for the next 20 years.
The draft 7th Power Plan (Plan) is available for public comment until December 18th. The final plan will be released in February 2016. We need you to contact the Council, and ask that they support a plan that prioritizes efficiency, reduces carbon pollution, and develops our clean energy resources!
It is critical that Council members representing the four Northwest states hear from Montanans that they support a sustainable regional energy plan that:
- Prioritizes energy efficiency and “demand response” (actions to reduce power use during peak demand).
- Achieves the greatest reduction in carbon pollution.
- Provides a strong vision for developing the region’s clean energy resources.
In the final Plan, the Council needs to maintain the draft proposals strong energy efficiency and demand response targets as key strategies to save consumers money, improve reliability, and reduce carbon pollution. The Council also needs to strengthen the Plan by highlighting resource strategies that will achieve the greatest reductions in carbon pollution at the lowest cost. These strategies should prioritize retiring costly and dirty coal plants while developing more of the region’s renewable energy resources. Please take action today, and support a clean energy system in Montana and the Northwest!
Want to contact the Council directly? You can contact the council using this online form.
Sample Talking Points:
1) The Council should keep strong efficiency goals in the final Plan
- The draft Plan sets strong energy efficiency targets and the Council members should maintain the draft Plan’s goal of meeting all new energy load growth over the next 20 years with energy efficiency.
- Energy efficiency is by far the least cost, least risk, and lowest carbon resource available.
- Energy efficiency saves consumers money. In Montana, energy efficiency costs half as much as generation resources and provided over $78 million in net benefit for Northwestern Energy customers.
- The benefits of energy efficiency should be distributed equitably so that low-income, rural and other hard to reach populations are better served.
2) The Council should preserve “Demand Response” as a High Priority Demand response- measures or incentives that can change when people use power during the day—can reduce energy use during “peak” times.
- Demand response, like energy efficiency saves consumers money because it prevents utilities from building costly natural gas plants that only run periodically.
- Montana has tremendous opportunities for demand response because most utilities have not pursued it as a resource.
- The draft 7th Plan finds almost no possibility that the region will need any new gas plants for the next decade because of savings from demand response measures and incentives.
3) The Plan should achieve the greatest reduction in carbon pollution—this requires retiring costly coal plants
- The draft 7th Plan estimates that we can reduce the region’s carbon footprint by as much as 80% if we retire existing coal plants and the most inefficient natural gas plants.
- Existing coal plants like Colstrip are dirty and costly
- Pursuing energy efficiency while taking existing coal plants offline will allow for the deep cuts in carbon pollution that protect public health and save consumers money.
4) The Plan should provide a stronger vision for developing the region’s renewable energy resources
- The draft plan falls short of identifying opportunities for renewable energy resources to meet carbon pollution reduction goals cost-effectively.
- The Council should examine how Montana’s tremendous wind resources and energy storage technologies can contribute to regional resource diversity and needs.