The Role of Advisory Committees in Developing the Northwest Regional Power Plan

When Congress passed the Northwest Power Act in 1980, it signaled a major shift toward greater local, public participation in the energy policy decisions that affect everyone in the region. One key aspect to this directive is the use of advisory committees in developing the plan.

The Act directs the Council to establish a “voluntary scientific and statistical advisory committee” to assist the Council in developing the power plan and permits the Council to establish other voluntary advisory committees it deems necessary to carry out its functions. Technical and policy experts are appointed by the Council to support its analytical and technical work. Currently, there are seven active power plan advisory committees, including the Conservation Resources Advisory Committee, the Demand Forecasting Advisory Committee, and the Generating Resources Advisory Committee.

The Council’s advisory committees are structured and operated according to the terms of the Federal Advisory Committee Act to ensure that their work is objective and accessible to the public. In special cases, the Council may adapt these requirements.

The Act specifies that membership of advisory committees shall, as much as possible, represent a wide range of interests across the region, including federal, state, local, and Indian tribal governments; consumer groups; and customers. Council members may participate in advisory committee meetings and Council staff typically facilitate and organize the meetings.

The Council’s Policy on Advisory Committees provides additional details regarding the administration of the advisory committees, including requirements for public notice, public participation, committee records, and conflicts of interest.

Advisory committee meetings are open to the public and information on their objectives, scope of action, and member lists is available on the Council’s website. Development of the 2021 power plan is now underway; we encourage you to participate in the process to decide our energy future.