The Northwest is on track to meet energy conservation goals, according to an analysis being presented this week in Boise.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council put the emphasis on “conservation” in the power plan it released in 2010. It aimed to lean on efficiencies to meet 85 percent of the increased demand for electricity over the next 20 years.
A shorter-term goal was to find 1,200 megawatts worth of conservation by late 2014.
A council staff analysis finds that the region is on pace to surpass that goal. The energy savings it's found since 2010 are equivalent to not building two natural-gas-fired power plants. But it still falls short of the region’s growth in energy demand.
The conservation measures are not quite meeting the plan’s long-term target of 85 percent conservation. The last two years hit about 81 percent.
Power council officials say investing in efficiency tends to be cheaper than spending on new power supplies. They say that cost differential is likely to spur more efficiency measures in the future.