Energy Efficiency Is Second-Largest Power Resource in Pacific Northwest

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) reports that energy efficiency is the second-largest power resource in the Pacific Northwest region, ranking only behind hydroelectricity.

The NPCC—authorized through the Northwest Power Act to develop and maintain a regional power plan, and fish and wildlife program, to balance the Northwest’s environment and energy needs—bases the claim on a survey completed by 80 entities representing nearly 90% of the region’s retail electricity sales.

According to the data, energy efficiency has saved 5,570 MW since 1978, and has met nearly 62% of Pacific Northwest load growth since 1980. The NPCC estimates that the region’s electricity consumers saved nearly $3.5 billion in 2013 as a result of the conservation efforts. Last year energy savings totaled 268 MW on average, slightly exceeding the NPCC’s goal of 260 MW.

The savings have come in part from heavy investment, with the region investing more than twice the national average share of its retail electric revenues in energy efficiency. In total, regional utility investments in energy efficiency in 2013 were $375 million (in 2006 currency values), more than $28 per person.

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is noted to be a big contributor to efficiency improvements in the region. The NEEA is an alliance of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers. It leverages its strong regional partnerships to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products, services, and practices.

The NEEA believes that more than 3,000 MW can be saved in the residential sector through 2030, and that 60% of the projected 2,500-MW commercial sector growth during the same timeframe can be avoided through energy efficiency improvements. The Alliance is also promoting industrial, emerging technology, and codes and standards initiatives to improve energy efficiency.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)

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