Despite a strong effort by a coalition of stakeholders, Referendum 52 was not approved by Washington voters. The statewide vote count had a 45% approval total with the vast majority of counties showing a majority of voters against the measure. Populous King County, however, showed strong majority support for the referendum. Post mortem on the reasons for the electoral defeat cluster around two major themes. Clearly 2010 was not a good year for measures that contained the word “tax”.
The Energy Trust of Oregon recently unveiled its strategic plans for residential and commercial/multi-family sectors. The Energy Trust provides energy efficiency programs and incentives for electricity customers of Pacific Power and Portland General Electric in Oregon and Northwest Natural and Cascade customers in Oregon and Washington. The Energy Trust’s documents for residential and commercial both emphasize similar themes – 1. The current economy presents a challenge for customers to invest in energy efficiency, 2.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Taskforce (NEET) held its final meeting on June 17th. While observing the age old advice of never saying never, NEET Taskforce facilitator Ken Canon announced that there would be no more scheduled meetings of a taskforce at work over the previous 2 years. NEET was inspired by Chairs Steve Wright (BPA), Pat Reiten (PacifiCorp), and Tom Karrier (NWPCC) and the central question of how the pace of energy efficiency acquisition could be accelerated in the region.
On June 11th, the Washington State Building Code Council, in response to a request from Governor Chris Gregoire, voted to delay implementation of 2009 Washington State Energy Code to a date no later than April 1, 2011. The SBCC will hold a public comment period in the Fall of this year and take a final vote on the implementation date in October. The Governor made this request citing concerns over the effect of the 2009 WSEC on homebuilders and the economic recovery of this sector of the economy. The Non Residential Energy Code will also be delayed by this action.
Two upcoming events may be of interest to NEEC members.The West Coast Energy Management Congress is June 15-16 at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center in Seattle. NEEC is a Silver Sponsor of the event. WCEMC is one of the showcase conference and exhibits of the Association of Energy Engineers. Once again, Puget Sound Energy is the local premier host with strong sponsorship support by Puget Sound area utilities and businesses. Numerous NEEC member companies will be featured in panel presentations and in the exhibit hall. For more information, go to the NEEC Events page.
The Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) moves to the 2009 version of the code effective July 1st of this year. Substantial revisions have been made to the code from the 2006 edition. NEEC is providing technical assistance to code users to support the migration to the 2009 WSEC (note that Washington State University Extension Energy Program provides TA for the single family residential component of the code, while NEEC handles non-residential and multi-family occupancies).
SB 5849 passed by the 2009 Washington Legislature, scripted the Department of Commerce to develop a state energy strategy document for consideration in the 2011 Legislature. The DOC recently announced its public process for input and participation in the crafting of this strategy. Rogers Weed, DOC Director, recently announced;
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC), in collaboration with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, is a recipient of a $3.9 million US Department of Labor grant for job training and placement in the building energy efficiency sector. NEEC will utilize this funding for the Sound Energy Efficiency Development (SEED) project to be implemented by a regional partnership of employers, labor organizations, Workforce Development Councils, One Stop Career Centers, and community and technical colleges across a five county area in the Puget Sound region.
The Bonneville Power Administration will be making an historic change to its wholesale rate structure effective October 1, 2010. BPA will begin a “tiered rate” system in which each of its retail utility customers will be able to purchase specific quantities of electricity at a rate associated with its cost of production. A retail utilities power needs beyond that quantity can be met through its own market purchases or by acquiring power through BPA at a second tier cost associated with market prices.