Comment from Swan, Linda
We need to end our reliance on coal and move toward more sustainable, clean energy resources • We applaud the Council for showing we need no new fossil-fueled power plants and for proposing to meet the next 20 years of growing Northwest electricdemand 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 must not be watered down. At this point, they are the least we should expect. Lowering the conservation target, for example, would cost Northwest residents money and jobs. • This draft plan, if finalized, would stabilize global warming emissions but not reduce them – not at all. It will not help achieve the carbon-reduction goals already in place in Washington, Oregon and Montana. Instead of telling utilities it’s OK to keep relying on dirty coal plants, the Council should chart a course to a carbon-free future in which energy efficiency and renewable energy resources replace the dirty power from the coal 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, its should contain a reasonable CO2 price forecast for utilities to use for planning and in their ongoing operations. Otherwise utilities get the green light to keep running their dirty coal plants just as they’re running them today, creating additional pollution and continually worsening the climate threat. • The conservation targets in the draft’s 5-year Action Plan are too low at 1,200 average megawatts – about what the region’s utilities are already getting. 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 important new studies such as Bright Future and The Power of Efficiency showing that 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. Thank you.