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Washington and Oregon Must Keep Moving Forward to a Clean Energy Future

Northwest Energy Plan Stalled - Press Statement August 13, 2009

On August 12th, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council unexpectedly reached a deadlock and failed to approve their draft Sixth Power Plan which will provide a 20-year electric energy blueprint for the Northwest.  The Sixth Plan will provide a broad baseline of information which all utilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana will use to measure their energy plans. Specifically, the plan will provide a five-year mandate of energy conservation targets for the Bonneville Power Administration’s utility customers.  The Plan must provide for a 60-day comment period and public hearings in all four states before final approval in December of this year.

Statement of Doug Howell, Senior Representative Coal-Free Northwest Campaign, Sierra Club, "Yesterday the Northwest Power And Conservation Council failed to approve the draft of the Sixth Power Plan which provides the 20-year blueprint for our energy future."

Now the Council faces a tighter timeline and tougher political hurdles to create a plan which will lead the Northwest away from coal power and towards a clean, healthy and prosperous energy future.
"We are thankful for the Washington and Oregon Council Members who urged the draft Plan be adopted for public review.

Now these Members must continue to hold to their principles and ensure that the fundamentals of the plan do not get eroded by political obstinacies.

"Three principles are at stake and the staff of the Council has provided outstanding analysis in support of these principles. First, the Council shows the way to a coal-free Northwest that is both achievable and affordable within just 10 years. Rapid phase-out of coal plants will provide an astounding reduction of three-quarters of all our climate pollution from the electricity sector and protect the public from poisonous pollution to our air and water. Now we must remain strong on our commitment to include this vision of a coal-free future in the power plan and ensure this critical information is made widely available to the public.

"Second, we must ensure that the stark realities of global warming are not swept under the rug. Accountability for climate change impacts and its costs must be incorporated into the 20-year plan. Given the inevitability of climate change regulations, and the commitment of three of the four states governments to achieve global warming reductions, the Council must ensure polluters are held financially accountable for their climate liability. Failing to do so would put our state economies at undue risk and will threaten consumers with needlessly costly energy bills.

"Finally, we must maintain the highest level of energy conservation measures. Energy conservation is the cheapest and cleanest form of energy available and saves consumers the most amount of money. Furthermore, energy conservation promises to revitalize our states’ economies by creating thousands of high quality jobs. Conservation alone can provide almost all of the new energy needs expected over the next 20 years.

"We applaud the Washington and Oregon Council Members for supporting the adoption of the draft Sixth Plan. We urge them to continue to support measures that address the three C’s: coal, climate and conservation."