NIPPC Releases Whitepaper on How Competition Improves Decarbonization

On July 20, 2022, the Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) released a whitepaper titled “The Role of Competition in the Pacific Northwest Clean Energy Transition,” that examines how wholesale and retail competition in the power sector can contribute to the Pacific Northwest’s decarbonization goals.  

Written by Jason Eisdorfer, an independent consultant and longtime utility regulatory expert in the region, the policy brief describes the challenge of the clean energy transition to the traditional investor-owned utility model. It describes the history of market competition in the Northwest, the financial incentives that continue to drive utility behavior, the risks to consumers of over-reliance on utility solutions, and the significant consumer benefits made possible by competitive clean energy options. The brief also makes recommendations to policymakers in Oregon and Washington, as well as Idaho and Montana, about how to encourage competition in order to decarbonize effectively while keeping electricity affordable and reliable.

The brief suggests that policymakers consider: (1) limits on utility resource ownership and ways to bolster competitive procurement; (2) the system benefits of retail competition, particularly for large new loads with retail choice; (3) alternative utility incentives beyond traditional ratebasing; and (4) establishing organized regional markets and developing new transmission capacity.

“Independent power producers and marketers stand ready to help deliver a deeply decarbonized future in the Pacific Northwest,” said NIPPC Executive Director Spencer Gray. “This policy brief gathers decades of research and experience and applies it to catalyzing innovative, competitive solutions to the climate challenge. NIPPC looks forward to working closely with the region’s elected leaders, regulators, consumers, policy advocates, and utility partners on our clean energy transition.”

NIPPC is a membership organization that represents competitive power participants in the Pacific Northwest and adjacent Intermountain region. NIPPC members include owners, operators, and developers of independent power generation and storage, power marketers, transmission developers, and affiliated companies.

These materials are intended to as informational and are not to be considered legal advice or legal opinion, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. Information included about previous case results does not assure a similar future result.