Help SGNW Comment on the Draft 7th Power Plan and Impact Regional Energy Planning Through 2035


The Northwest Power and Conservation Council released its draft 7th Power plan recently and is looking for feedback from regional stakeholders.  The plan overwhelmingly calls for the use of efficiency measures to meet regional energy needs, under a basically flat load growth over the next 20 years. There is a window of opportunity to comment on the plan as drafted until December 18th. We encourage members of the Smart Grid NW community to weigh in directly to the Council with your feedback, keeping in mind the Council’s objective of “assuring the region of a safe, reliable, and economical power system with due regard for the environment.” The next plan comes out in 5 years, so this next month presents a key opportunity to impact regional thinking on energy issues for a number of years. If you would like to be in touch with us as we submit our thoughts, please contact Bryce Yonker, Smart Grid NW’s Executive Director –

These are the topics SGNW is considering for feedback:


Demand Response

Much more significantly than any plan before, the 7th Plan highlights the role that DR plays to cost-effectively meet capacity requirements (both winter and summer). All other resource categories (efficiency, solar, natural gas, etc.) in the plan have actual amounts showing how much of that energy source should likely be developed. Smart Grid NW applauds the Council for its inclusion of DR as an important resource to be developed further in the region. We will be considering if our recommendation of a targeted amount of DR is something that would be useful and appropriate for the plan.


Distributed Energy Resources

The draft plan does not forecast the impact that distributed energy resources will play in the NW in the next 20 years. This is a significant gap in the plan. There are mentions of solar and storage (and more limited mentions of other solutions) throughout the plan but nothing is included to offer forecasts of the impact these resources would have, or even an exploration of what kind of value drivers they bring for the region. The mention of the action plan items to improve forecasting for emerging markets (ANALYS-2), monitoring and tracking progress of emerging technologies (ANALYS-13), and the creation of a white paper on energy storage value (ANALYS-15) are each a step in the direction of understanding and including DERs. Smart Grid NW will consider what role we can play to better support coverage and understanding of this topic in the plan.


Smart Grid Technologies 

(at the transmission and distribution levels, as well as behind the meter)

The draft plan does not cover anything around forecasting or planning for energy infrastructure, including most of the technology areas typically considered directly in the smart grid sphere. It only briefly mentions smart grid solutions as possible future resources. Smart Grid NW will consider comments around creating a process (maybe added action plan items) to see how to examine these solutions in more depth. We may reference leveraging the insights of the vast body of projects conducted around the smart grid demonstration effort and others that have occurred in the region recently. The scope of the plan has not yet included the supporting infrastructure for the regional mix of energy. But as worlds come together with the technology solutions via the smart grid, now seems to be an appropriate time to discuss whether the plan should include this potential infrastructure to help the council fulfill its core objective to “assure the region of a safe, reliable, and economical power system with due regard for the environment.”


Transactive Energy

There is no mention of transactive energy systems, controls, or frameworks in the plan. As this plan looks 20 years out, and especially since the regional transactive demonstration project was one of the world’s most comprehensive projects on this topic, Smart Grid NW will likely see if the lessons from that effort can be included, and if there can be a recommendation to continue work in the region to better understand the benefits of a transactive energy system.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on this important report and we hope to be of service to the NW Power and Conservation Council as a forward looking group of industry stakeholders.

Bryce Yonker – Executive Director, Smart Grid Northwest –

Stephan Williams