'Raging Grannies' Sing 'No More Coal'
by Jim DiPeso
Examiner, October 1, 2009
To the tune of "Side by Side," the Raging Grannies sang "No More Coal" to a Seattle hearing September 30 of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
Theirs was the most colorful manifestation of a theme expressed throughout the evening: the council's sixth regional energy plan for the Pacific Northwest is great but not great enough.
Speakers appreciated the council's call for the Northwest to meet all of its future energy demand growth through 2030 with 5,800 megawatts of energy efficiency and 1,800 megawatts of renewables, mostly wind.
Citizens, however, wanted more: a plan for the Northwest's coal plants to die, so that the region can reduce, not just limit, its greenhouse gas emissions. Today, coal accounts for 13 percent of the Northwest's generating capacity.
If coal goes away, what replaces it? Speakers called for even more aggressive energy efficiency targets. The Northwest Energy Coalition's Bright Future report, for example, calls for saving 340 megawatts of power per year.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, a trade association of efficiency equipment makers, vendors, installers, and engineers, brought up a key point. The power council's plan assumes that customers make economically irrational energy product choices half the time. That has to change if more waste is to be squeezed out of the Northwest's energy consumption habits.
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