NEEA and Utilities Team With Industries

August 18, 2011

As participants in the Northwest sign on, "25inTENsity Challenge" helps industries stay competitive by cutting energy intensity by 25 percent in 10 years.

PORTLAND, OR /PRNewswire/ -- In another effort to reduce the need to build more power plants, rely less on expensive open-market power and decrease the carbon impact of Northwest industries, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) announced the launch of the 25inTENsity Challenge. The Challenge is a new regional initiative developed by NEEA and its Northwest utility partners to encourage and assist industries to work toward a unified energy efficiency goal—to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent within 10 years.

"With the 25inTENsity Challenge, the new heroes of energy efficiency will be Northwest industry associations," said Claire Fulenwider, NEEA's executive director. "Their support for this effort demonstrates that entire industries are starting to take meaningful action through their industry organizations."

The 25inTENsity Challenge will help leading Northwest industries address their energy usage and costs, and build a competitive advantage in the face of tightening supplies, resource constraints, cost increases and government regulation. Specific assistance for organizations and its members includes support for the creation of an Energy Roadmap to guide their energy reduction efforts, mentoring, and facilitation of partnerships among key groups and organizations.

The Challenge is open to all Northwest industries. Aiming to sign on major industry groups who represent 50 percent of the region's industrial load by 2014, two industry group participants have already joined, including the Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) and the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN).

The groundwork for the 25inTENsity Challenge was based on the success of NEEA's work with the food processing industry over the past six years to implement NEEA's Continuous Energy Improvement (CEI) framework at participating facilities. NEEA, in partnership with NWFPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Energy Trust of Oregon, Washington State University Extension Energy Program, and Northwest regional utilities, developed a collaborative model to reduce energy intensity, or energy by unit of output, which resulted in NWFPA setting a goal in 2008 to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent in 10 years and 50 percent in 20 years. This was the first industrial sector organization in the United States to voluntarily commit to this kind of goal.

Independent evaluators report that food processing facilities practicing NEEA's CEI framework achieved average annual electric savings of three percent per site.

"Our commitment to the 25inTENsity Challenge has helped us successfully address rising energy costs in creative ways that make sense for our industry," said NWFPA President Dave Zepponi. "It has also allowed us to attract significant funding to offset our members' implementation costs, accelerating their ROI on energy saving initiatives."

The 25inTENsity Challenge is a key component of NEEA's regional industrial and agricultural sector strategy. Through efforts with NEEA and its utility partners, industry initiatives delivered 1.5 average megawatts (aMW) of total regional savings in 2010. Since 1997, NEEA and its partners have created a virtual power plant that saved 707 aMW for the region, or the equivalent annual output of two 500 megawatt natural gas fired power plants.

"When industries begin to seize control of their energy use and reduce their energy waste, we all win," said Margie Harris, executive director at Energy Trust of Oregon. "The 25inTENsity Challenge is a new approach to managing industrial energy demand that will reduce the need for utilities to build more power plants or buy more expensive electricity on the open market."

In late 2010, OAN, an organization that represents more than 1,200 individual nursery stock producers, retailers, landscapers and related companies serving the nursery and greenhouse industry, announced its commitment to the 25inTENsity Challenge, and is now working on an Energy Roadmap with the help of NEEA, the Energy Trust of Oregon and other statewide organizations. The OAN Energy Roadmap will become part of a larger sustainability plan to help guide and track member initiatives over the next decade. OAN's Solutions Story can be found here.

About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a non-profit organization working to maximize energy efficiency to meet our future energy needs. NEEA is supported by and works in partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Trust of Oregon and more than 100 Northwest utilities for the benefit of more than 12 million energy consumers. NEEA uses the market power of the region to accelerate the innovation and adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. Since 1997, NEEA and its partners have saved enough energy to power more than 568,400 homes each year. Energy efficiency can satisfy more than half of our new demand for energy, saving money, and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live.

About NEEA's 25inTENsity Challenge
NEEA's 25inTENsity Challenge is a comprehensive framework supporting Northwest industries' efforts to impact energy use and costs, and sustain a competitive advantage in the face of tightening supplies, resource constraints, cost increases and government regulation. The Challenge is open to all Northwest industries including beverage manufacturing, textile manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, metals manufacturing, petroleum manufacturing, computer and electronics manufacturing and many more. NEEA aims to recruit industry groups representing half of the region's industrial load by 2014.

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