Cuts in Consumption Help Crisis in Pacific Northwest

The northwest region of the United States saved 85 MW of electricity by responding to the energy crisis last year.

WASHINGTON, DC (US) 2002-01-28 [SolarAccess.com] “Those savings will stretch far into the future in the form of efficient lighting in homes and commercial buildings, energy-saving appliances and other measures,” says energy secretary Spencer Abraham. His department’s Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) estimates that the saving is sufficient to power 80,000 homes. In one successful initiative, BPA and its utility customers distributed 1.8 million discount coupons for the purchase of compact fluorescent lamps in partnership with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. The response exceeded expectations, with five million bulbs installed, saving 4 MW of power during the year. BPA accelerated many programs in response to shortages of energy and rising costs during the drought. More than 130 utilities in the region are receiving credit from BPA on wholesale power bills for their actions to conserve energy. BPA provides 45 percent of the region’s electricity, and it shared the savings with customers of investor-owned utilities, which fund and operate their own conservation programs. “Our Conservation & Renewable Discount Program allows utilities to pursue measures that work best for them,” explains acting BPA administrator Steve Wright. “When the energy crisis hit, we asked customers to respond quickly, and 20 utilities brought in 54 projects for a total of 10 MW of savings.” Wright says the region must not relax conservation efforts when energy supplies are adequate, noting “The best way to avoid future energy shortages and to protect the environment is to sustain our conservation efforts.” Other savings last year included improvements in commercial lighting (5 MW); vending machines (4.4 MW); lighting at federal generating facilities (5 MW); and hatchery and waste-water treatment facilities (1.6 MW). BPA also promotes photovoltaic generators installed at schools and public buildings, and has installed fuel cells to promote the technology to commercial availability.
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