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Regional Energy Resource Planning

Assessing the Sixth Power Plan -- and looking ahead to the challenges of the Seventh.

Energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions are at the heart of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s (Council) current official 20-year regional plan (the Sixth Power Plan). Among energy planners worldwide, the Council’s energy plans are viewed as the “gold standard” for regional energy planning. The Council’s most recent plan, referred to simply as the Sixth Power Plan, was released in early 2010. It calls for meeting 85% of the region’s new electricity needs from energy efficiency and all the rest with renewable energy resources. This is the first time this unique 30-year old agency has developed a plan that would result in no net increase in the Northwest power system’s carbon emissions.  

Last spring, the Council released the Sixth Power Plan Mid-Term Assessment Report, which reviews the region’s progress in implementing the plan and identifies issues that it is likely to address in the Seventh Power Plan expected in 2015. The Council members and staff are currently hard at work on the Seventh Power Plan.  Preparatory work includes the release of a number of “primers” on such topics as carbon emission, generating resources, power system flexibility, power system capacity, solar power and more. The Council has also conducted a number of symposiums on such topics as Innovations in energy storage technology, greenhouse gas and the regional power system, and the Pacific Northwest and California Power Markets. The final symposium on The Utility Business Model is expected to occur sometime during our spring course.  

We will invite senior Council staff members to join us and “pull back the curtains” to help us understand how these regional plans are developed and to share with us some of the most fascinating issues they expect to contend with in the Seventh Power Plan.