Comment from Ransel, Katherine
Dear Council Members: I was delighted to hear that the Council has demonstrated that we need no new fossil-fueled power plants and has proposed to meet the next 20 years of Northwest electric demand with 5,800 average megawatts of new energy efficiency and 1,800 aMW of new renewable energy. These excellent clean energy targets are attainable and affordable, and I am asking that you stay with them. However, the draft plan, while stabilizing emissions, would not reduce them. It will not help achieve the carbon-reduction goals already in place in Washington, Oregon and Montana. The Council should instead chart a course to a carbon-free future in which energy efficiency and renewable energy resources replace coal powered plants now providing about 23% of the Northwest’s electricity. The plan should reflect the best and latest climate science and be tailored to meeting regional carbon-reduction goals. While the Council cannot control the future costs of carbon emissions, the plan should contain a reasonable CO2 price forecast for utilities to use for planning and in their ongoing operations. The conservation targets in the draft’s 5-year Action Plan are too low. To meet the draft plan’s 20-year target, utilities would have to average 1,450 aMW every five years. Not only will our utilities have a lot of catching up to do after the Action Plan period, but meeting only the lower 5-year goal would cost our region $2 billion in lost savings and countless job opportunities. Council staff analyses confirm we can affordably shut down the coal plants now serving our region, start electrifying transportation, restore endangered salmon, develop our abundant clean energy resources and revitalize our economy in the process. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council needs to assure that the power system fulfills its climate responsibilities while responsibly meeting our energy needs.