For more than a generation, the Pacific Northwest has been a leader in acquiring energy efficiency. Since 1978, the region has reduced electricity demand by more than 5,100 average megawatts, about half the region's load growth--more than enough to power four Seattles.
One of the reasons for this success has been the unique role that the Regional Technical Forum plays in providing a systematic way to validate energy efficiency savings.
Created in 1999 as an advisory committee to help the region meet the Council's targets for cost-effective energy efficiency, the forum uses a set of detailed guidelines for estimating savings. The savings are peer-reviewed so it's clear how the forum determined a measure's energy savings. Members include representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration, utilities, and energy organizations.
"My impression was that the forum was the designated authority on measures, but I learned that's not really the case," said Scott Williams, a senior market analyst at Puget Sound Energy in Bellevue, Washington, and a new member fo the forum.
"It's an advisory group that provides expertise that can be used by utilities and others. My understanding is that going to our state utilities commission with measures that have been blessed by the forum reduces our risk to almost a certainty that the claimed savings will be honored. That's a good thing for us."