Appreciate the vital role that energy efficiency continues to play in the New Energy Economy and explore how energy efficiency programs can be even more effective.
Ever since the Northwest Power and Conservation Act of 1980 defined energy conservation as a resource and made it the region’s top priority the Pacific Northwest has been a global leader in this area, even though our power rates are lower than most places. According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, energy efficiency is now our region’s second largest energy resource after hydropower, and half the region’s growth in demand for electricity has been met by what some call “energy efficiency or conservation power plants.” Since 1980, our region has saved over 5,300 average megawatts of electricity – enough to power the entire state of Oregon. It has also resulted in billions of dollars saved and significant reductions in carbon emissions each year much lower carbon emissions each year. These encouraging numbers are the result of hard work from a very robust energy efficiency community that includes the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Energy Trust of Oregon, BPA, regional utilities, and many consulting, design and construction firms.
However, new developments and significant questions have emerged. They include groundbreaking studies that offer guidance on how to identify and, where possible, quantify all the major energy efficiency benefits. They also include innovative new approaches for delivering energy efficiency programs that their proponents believe will be more efficient and just. In addition, BPA is in the process of conducting an important Energy Efficiency Post-2011 Review, a public process to review and consider improvements to BPA’s energy efficiency policy framework and related implementation elements. We will also explore funding issues for energy efficiency and low-income weatherization programs.
We will invite experts and leaders from the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Energy Trust of Oregon, BPA, and innovative energy efficiency companies to help us explore these issues.
Image: A computer-controlled flow and temperature control panel. Credit: Lance Cheung, USDA.