Last week, the Sierra Club, the Northwest Energy Coalition, and numerous other Oregon conservation and ratepayer organizations sent an open letter to Governor Ted Kulongoski, asking him to work with other Northwest Governors to push the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC) to set a plan to phase out coal as part of the regional energy mix over the next decade.
Every five years, the NWPCC sets a plan in motion that helps guide energy decisions at the Oregon Public Utility Commission, which oversees the resource plans for major utilities such as PGE, Pacificorp, and NW Natural. During the development of the draft ‘6th Plan’ of the NWPCC, the Sierra Club mobilized hundreds of Oregonians to turn out to hearings to call for an end to burning coal, which amazingly still provides 40% of Oregon’s electricity. PGE’s Boardman coal-burning power plant is Oregon’s largest stationary source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The NWPCC’s draft 6th Plan contained laudable goals to get 85% of new energy over the next 20 years from energy efficiency and conservation, but didn’t address the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing energy sources in order to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals on the books in Oregon and other states.
Governor Kulongoski has been a leader in developing renewable energy policies and green jobs for Oregon, spearheading the effort in 2007 to adopt some of the nation’s strongest greenhouse gas reduction goals. Now its time for the Governor to push for the phaseout of outdated and dirty coal-fired power plants, like PGE’s Boardman plant, while working with other regional Governors and the NWPCC to create a coal-free Northwest.