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Press Release
November 9, 1994

National Environmental Groups Target Bonneville's Lack of Renewable Energy Strategy

Portland, OR -- A coalition of national environmental groups is targeting the Bonneville Power Administration in a campaign to encourage the federal power agency to increase its strategic focus on renewable energy options in the Pacific Northwest.
 
The campaign, led by the Renewable Northwest Project, is centering on the fact that Bonneville’s recently released draft Business Plan pointedly leaves out any strategic reference to renewable energy resources.
 
In a letter to Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary, released Tuesday, the groups charged that Bonneville’s Business Plan “barely mentions renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal or biomass, even though the Pacific Northwest is home to a rich diversity of these resources.
 
“As Bonneville plays a central role in the development of energy markets in the Northwest, and controls over 80 percent of the region’s transmission resources, it can play a critical role in helping build a market for renewable energy. We urge you to ensure that Bonneville fulfills this mission for the benefit of the region’s citizens and the environment,” they wrote.
 
The groups signing the letter included Environmental Action, USPIRG, Union of Concerned Scientists, Climate Institute, Clean Energy Campaign, Energy and Environmental Study Institute, Geothermal Energy Association, American Wind Energy Association, American Biofuels Association, American Solar Energy Society, Sun Day Campaign, and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
 
“Renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass have little to no fuel costs and therefore provide protection for ratepayers against fossil fuel price increase,” the coalition wrote. “The increased utilization of clean and renewable energy resources in the region will use American technology to provide American jobs while helping to protect our environment.
 
“If Bonneville does not take a leadership role in this effort, the goals of Congress and of the Clinton Administration in providing for increased reliance on conservation and renewable energy will be frustrated,” they warned O’Leary.
 
The groups commended Bonneville supporting two geothermal power projects, located at Newberry Crater in Oregon and Glass Mountain in California, and two wind energy pilot projects, in Columbia Hills, Washington and Carbon County, Wyoming.
 
But they noted that “these alone will not meet the regional goals outlined in the 1980 Power Act, which explicitly named conservation and renewable resources as priority resources and which was designed to ‘encourage through the unique opportunity provided by the Federal Columbia River Power System conservation and efficiency in the use of electric power, and the development of renewable resources within the Pacific Northwest.’
 
“We urge you to do all that you can to ensure that Bonneville puts the necessary emphasis on the development of clean, renewable and domestic energy in the Northwest through its Business Plan, its power sales contracts, and its rate case,” they wrote to O’Leary.
 
Rachel Shimshak, director of the Renewable Northwest Project, said, “Bonneville has a golden opportunity to lead the nation in the development of renewable resources. A meaningful strategy for the development of conservation and renewable resources will also help Bonneville address declining fish stocks.”
 
# # #
For more information contact:
Rachel Shimshak, Director
Renewable Northwest Project
503-223-4544
 
 
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