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RNP News Item
March 12, 2014

Renewable Energy Advocates Celebrate 20 Years of Progress

Over 400 well-wishers gathered on March 6th to celebrate Renewable Northwest Project’s 20th anniversary and to mark the region’s progress on new, clean, renewable resources. The diverse group of energy community participants, ranging from college students to senior utility officials, toasted the group’s successes and delighted in the “Wizard of Oz” theme for the evening by donning their ruby slippers and celebrating turning dreams into reality.


In addition to celebrating 20 years of success, the group’s executive director Rachel Shimshak also announced a change to their name, dropping “Project” to become Renewable Northwest.


“Every time you say the name of the group, you’ll have to think about our mission: Renewable Northwest,” said executive director, Rachel Shimshak.

Renewable Northwest is the leading renewable energy advocacy organization in the region, and is comprised of over 60 members. Their unique model brings together non-profit groups with clean energy businesses to support solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable resources with a mission to transition the region away from dependence on fossil fuels.


Here’s a list of just some of their accomplishments supporting home grown energy to help keep our water and air clean for future generations:

  1. 7,600 MW of new wind, solar, and geothermal projects have been added to the Northwest’s energy supply since 1994. That’s enough to power over 2 million households and to avoid more than 15.6 million metric tons of CO2. This development has supported Northwest economies as well, bringing in over $21 billion of investment, and hundred of millions of dollars in public revenue through property taxes and lease payments, which supports schools and infrastructure across the Northwest.
  2. Shutting down coal plants: Renewable Northwest worked with Portland General Electric and allies to reassess the economic benefits of the Boardman coal plant in Oregon, leading to the decision for its early retirement no later than 2020. They worked rigorously with PacifiCorp to remove two new coal plants from their resource plans, and worked with Idaho Power to develop a plan to dramatically reduce existing coal plant output.
  3. Oregon, Washington and Montana all have state renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to gradually increase renewable energy serving customers, keep the air clean, and helping stabilize rates. Renewable Northwest played a leading role in establishing and defending these policies. The Washington state CLEW report calls its RPS the most effect policy at reducing carbon in that state.
  4. Working with BPA: Renewable Northwest has worked closely with BPA on transmission and integration policies for renewables to improve efficiency, reliability and to reduce costs. As a result, more transmission has been made available for clean energy projects, and integration rates have been reduced for generators saving customers an estimated $100 million/year.
  5. Spearheaded efforts leading to the establishment of the Energy Trust of Oregon, and the universal system benefit program in Montana. Both programs have supported thousands of solar and other small renewable system installations. They have also supported the establishment of solar incentives in all four Northwest states, and the increased net metering threshold in Oregon to 2 MW. 
  6. They’ve also played a key leadership role in designing workable, effective siting guidelines and processes across the Northwest, which balance environmental concerns with our growing energy needs.

 

Special thanks to our event sponsors:

Ruby Slipper Sponsors

  • American Wind Energy Association
  • Avista
  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • EDP Renewables
  • Everpower
  • Gaelectric
  • Iberdrola Renewables
  • K&L Gates
  • NextEra Energy
  • Pacific Power
  • Portland General Electric
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • RES Americas
  • SolarCity
  • Vestas


Glinda the Good Witch Sponsors

  • Caithness
  • EDF Renewable Energy
  • NRDC
  • NW Natural
  • Stoel Rives LLP
  • Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC


Toto Sponsors

  • 3Degrees
  • Climate Solutions
  • Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
  • City of Portland, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
  • The Energy Foundation
  • Environment Oregon
  • Environment Washington
  • Geothermal Resources Council
  • Green Mountain Energy
  • Keyes, Fox & Weidman LLP
  • NW Energy Coalition
  • OneEnergy Renewables
  • PECI
  • Scott Piscitello
  • Steve Reynolds
  • Summit Power
  • Thorn Run Partners
  • Tonkon Torp LLP
  • Western Resource Advocates

 


With special thanks to: Sustainable Business Oregon, Migration Brewing, Vestas, New Deal Distillery, Brick House Vineyards, Camas Country Mill, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Kramer Vineyards, Lemelson Vineyards, Pudding River Wine Cellars, Sapphire Permaculture Apiary, Soter Vineyards, as well as all of the event committee members and volunteers that made this event possible.


See additional photos on our Facebook page!

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