npccThat tingling sensation you feel isn’t ordinary excitement. It’s the feeling that comes from living in the Northwest — the place that is the gold standard for energy efficiency, renewable energy, ratepayer protection, and all around grooviness in the electricity sector. As it happens, we’re now entering the heady period that only occurs once every five years: the updating of the Northwest Power Plan.

In seriousness, the Power Plan might sound dull or arcane, but it’s hugely important. It marks out the the enery path forward for the Northwest—and it has a giant influence over the behavior of public power agencies and private utilities alike. 

In many ways, the new draft plan is pretty darn good. It shows how the region can meet nearly all of the next 20 year’s new power demand with no increase in greenhouse gas emissions and no new fossil fuel-burning plants. But in other ways, the plan is lacking: it doesn’t lay out a strategy for reducing carbon emissions. And it doesn’t point the way toward phasing out the coal plants that are the goliaths of the Northwest’s emissions.

The Northwest Energy Coalition—my go-to source for this kind of thing—has an excellent summary of the good and the bad, as well as what you can do about it. And you really can do something about it. The Northwest’s electricity sector didn’t become amazingly progressive by accident. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council—the planning body that develops these plans—actually listens to citizen input and takes it seriously.

So go get yourself to one of the public hearings:

Monday, Sept. 28

Eugene Public Library, Tykeson Room
100 West 10th Ave
Eugene, Oregon

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Best Western Executive Inn
200 Taylor Ave N
Seattle, Washington

Monday, Oct. 5


Teleconference hearings, 10am and at 7pm
Call the Council central office (800-452-5161) for the number.

Tuesday, Oct. 13

JR Williams Bldg. (Hall of Mirrors) East side
700 W. State Street
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, Oct. 13

Doubletree Edgewater Missoula, Bitterroot Room
100 Madison
Missoula, Montana

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Portland, Oregon

And write up some comments while you’re at it. You can submit them here.

If you’re in want of more information, go to the Northwest Energy Coalition’s website, where you’ll find background on the planning process, as well as a helpful FAQs (pdf), a talking points memo (pdf), and a public interest statement (pdf).

At  NPCC’s site you’ll find the full text of the Draft Sixth Power Plan is here. And you can find a full schedule of public meetings here.