Equitable Energy Development

Spark Northwest advocates for regional solutions that promote distributed, community ownership of energy resources. We put forward policies and implement programs that advance energy efficiency, customer-owned renewables, and local job development. Spark Northwest is focused on the following priorities.

+ Promote Net Metering

Customers should have the right to consume the clean, carbon-free energy produced by renewable energy systems on their property. Net-metering is a policy that allows this. Spark Northwest advocates for the continuation of net-metering policies that deliver clear, predictable benefits to participants and encourage the connection between energy generation and consumption. Net metering also helps provide for consistent expectations regarding financing, allowing greater options for customers of all incomes interested in joining the clean energy future.

Across the country there is a growing attack on net metering policies from some established monopoly utilities and traditional energy companies. The amount of distributed generation in the Northwest accounts for a fraction of one percent of total energy produced, and much greater potential exists. We recognize that as the region reaches higher levels of distributed generation deployment, new rate structures and mechanisms may need to enter the market. In evaluating any potential changes, Spark Northwest will seek rigorous analysis regarding the true value to the electricity system of local renewable generation, costs and benefits of utility rate structures, and valuation of total environmental and social benefits. A key aspect of these efforts involves identifying strategic allies and working together to advocate for the program elements best for all customers. Learn more about Washington’s net metering law and Oregon’s.

+ Develop Cost-Effective, Fair Incentive Programs

The Pacific Northwest is lucky to have among the lowest electricity prices in the nation. While beneficial for ratepayers, this creates a challenging position for many new energy sources. State or local incentives are necessary in most Northwest markets to bring renewables into financial viability. At the same time, it is important that limited incentive funds be allocated in a manner that is fair, transparent, and cost effective. Spark Northwest advocates for incentive programs that reward performance, distribute benefits widely, encourage innovation, and develop local economies. Solar has been growing at such an impressive rate in Washington that we are now facing potential incentive reductions. Read more about the impacts here.

+ Reduce Barriers to Renewable Development

Costs for renewable energy technology, especially solar, continue to decline as more capacity is installed. However, the “soft-costs” of permitting, installation, financing, and customer acquisition continue to rise as a percentage of total costs. Spark Northwest works with local governments and utilities to reduce these barriers and streamline the process of choosing renewable energy. These efforts includes creating new financing mechanisms, reducing permitting fees, and influencing utility Integrated Resource Planning to increase the volume of renewable energy. Read more about how we’re reducing the soft costs of solar and wind.

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Working With You

Attend an Event

Spark Northwest provides educational events to community members to support renewable energy project development.

Have an Idea?

Got a project idea ready? We may be able to assist with your community project. Click below to see what services we offer!

Find More Resources

Spark Northwest provides publications, guidebooks and web tools that help communities pursue clean energy projects.