The Northwest Energy Coalition and the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association hosted the Fall 2016 Northwest Clean & Affordable Energy Conference November 17 & 18 in Portland, Oregon. The roughly 200 conference attendees heard from leaders in the policy, utility, renewable energy, energy efficiency, fish and wildlife, and business sectors. They discussed challenges and opportunities in transitioning to the low-carbon grid, next-generation energy efficiency, building the market for clean energy investments, and salmon recovery in the Columbia River basin. Economic and policy opportunities for expanding solar in the Northwest were also highlighted.
Common themes throughout the sessions included utility business model transformation for increased distributed generation capacity, energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for low-income communities, replacement of aging hydro facilities in ecologically-sensitive areas with wind and solar, and the transition from natural gas and coal to renewables.
The importance of outreach, advocacy, and coalition building was also stressed as well as the point that the Northwest is in a unique leadership position in terms of having elected officials and constituents who widely support renewable energy, environmental, and climate change mitigation measures. Several speakers discussed the need for environmental and clean energy advocates to form even stronger coalitions to help build and lead the clean energy revolution in the coming years.
|Solar Washington Board Member Britton Rife attended the conference on behalf of Solar Washington and submitted this report.|