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Northwest launches nation's first collaborative regional effort to transform natural gas energy efficiency

Northwest utilities, Energy Trust of Oregon and Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance build on current efforts to accelerate energy-efficient products, services and practices for natural gas

Portland, Ore. – February 26, 2015 – Today, a group of leading regional utilities and energy efficiency organizations including Avista, Cascade Natural Gas, Energy Trust of Oregon, NW Natural, Puget Sound Energy and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) jointly announced the launch of the first regional natural gas market transformation effort in the nation.  This work will leverage the learnings gained from existing local utility natural gas efficiency efforts, to advance the development and market adoption of energy-efficient natural gas products, practices and services in future years. The Northwest Gas Association is also a supporter of this regional effort.

“Collaborating across multiple service territories on gas market transformation will create the same kind of value for our customers that we’ve already seen for decades on the electric side, delivering even more savings for the region,” said Bob Stolarski, NEEA Board member and director of Customer Energy Management for Puget Sound Energy. “As a NEEA funder that works in both electricity and natural gas, we are excited for the region to take these first steps toward a more holistic view of market transformation.The Collaborative believes that a fuel-neutral perspective is the missing key to optimizing energy efficiency in our region.”

Stakeholders collaboratively developed the 2015-2019 Natural Gas Market Transformation Energy Efficiency Business Plan that includes a portfolio of five new cost-effective residential and commercial gas initiatives; searching for upcoming emerging technologies; codes and standards; and research and evaluation on natural gas efficiency.

The five-year, $18.3 million plan will work in parallel with NEEA’s recently launched 2015-2019 Strategic and Business Plans for electric efficiency, but with a single focus on natural gas opportunities. NEEA expects that this comprehensive approach will result in significant enhancements to the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of both electric and gas initiatives in the Northwest.

This initial foray into regional natural gas market transformation leverages NEEA’s upstream relationships with manufacturers, buyers and distributors of energy-efficient products and services, and its nearly two decades of experience transforming Northwest markets.

The funding allocation model, funding cycle and basic market transformation approach are consistent with NEEA’s electric market transformation model.

 “At a time of low natural gas prices, it's more important than ever to focus on expanding energy efficiency through our fuel-neutral mission,” said Susan E. Stratton, executive director of NEEA. “As the first in the country to chart a path in natural gas market transformation, this important work with our partners takes the energy efficiency market to the next level. This new collaboration will help the Northwest meet its future energy needs, both cost-effectively and efficiently.”

The three largest initiatives in the portfolio represent significant savings over near and long-term natural gas price forecasts.  

The 2015-2019 Natural Gas Market Transformation Business Plan is available online at neea.org/naturalgas

For customers interested in saving on their energy costs today, please contact your local utility.

About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is an alliance of more than 140 utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers. NEEA leverages its regional partnerships to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. NEEA is the only organization in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating both electric and gas energy efficiency.

Since 1997, NEEA and its partners have saved enough energy to power more than 700,000 homes each year. As the second-largest resource in the Northwest, energy efficiency can offset most of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live. www.neea.org