With the passage of the Northwest Power Act in 1980, Congress defined energy efficiency as a key resource for meeting the region's load growth. The Regional Technical Forum was established as a body that would provide the region with consistent and reliable quantification of energy savings estimates for specific efficient technologies or actions. The energy savings estimates generated through the public processes of the RTF enable accurate estimates of the region's efficiency potential vital to power system planning, as well as a better understanding of the region's efficiency accomplishments. Since 1978, energy efficiency has provided significant benefits to the Northwest.


  • Develop and maintain a list of eligible conservation resources, including their estimated lifetime costs and savings and estimated regional power system value
  • Develop a set of protocols by which the savings and system value of conservation resources should be estimated
  • Assist the Council in assessing performance and costs of new technologies, technology development trends, and the effect of those trends on the the future performance and costs of conservation resources
  • Assist the Council in tracking annual regional progress toward the achievement of the region's conservation targets  

Formation of RTF

In April 1999, the Council voted to charter the Regional Technical Forum (RTF) as an advisory committee to the Council. 

In 1995, the Bonneville Power Administration began to shift responsibility for financing and acquiring conservation savings to its utility customers to reduce Bonneville's costs and to allow utilities to better tailor their conservation programs to local situations. Congress recognized that this shift would likely result in a more diversified approach to conservation acquisition across the region. Consequently, in 1996 Congress directed Bonneville and the Northwest Power Planning Council to convene a regional technical forum to develop standardized protocols for verifying and evaluating conservation savings and to ensure that the region continues to meet the Council’s targets for securing cost-effective conservation. Congress further recommended that the forum's membership include individuals with technical expertise in conservation program planning, implementation, and evaluation and that the forum’s services be made available to all utilities in the Northwest.

The 1996 Comprehensive Review of the Northwest Energy System recommended that the technical forum should, in addition to the Congressional directives, track conservation and renewable resource goals and provide feedback and suggestions for improving the effectiveness of conservation and renewable resource development programs in the region. In February 1999, Bonneville’s Administrator requested the Council also task the forum with providing specific recommendations to Bonneville to assist it in implementing a conservation and renewable rate discount.

We want you to participate

The RTF is a public forum and we encourage you to engage in our work. The RTF holds monthly, all day meetings that are open to the public. The RTF also works through a variety of subcommittees. If you have specific technical or subject matter expertise, we would welcome your participation in this work. 

The RTF works on behalf of the region's energy efficiency programs, and our work plan is based on measure proposals from around the region to support program needs. If you are interested in engaging with the RTF to develop a new unit energy savings measure or standard protocol, please submit a proposal.

Video: Getting Involved with the RTF

Conservation Achievements 

As part of it's charter, the RTF conducts an annual survey to assess progress towards power plan goals. 

Regional Conservation Progress


The RTF itself is a body of between 20 and 30 appointed voting members that make decisions and recommendations to the Council. Approximately every three years, the Council, appoints the RTF's voting members. The Council seeks to ensure that the membership is fairly balanced in terms of technical expertise, sector experience, technology focus, policy experience and institutional experience. In addition to voting members, the RTF's work is supported by corresponding members and other interested stakeholders throughout the region and beyond. These many eyes on the RTF's work provide a deep level of peer-review, helping to ensure robust and unbiased analysis on behalf of the region. 

The RTF works under an annual work plan. The RTF budget and work plan is developed in coordination with regional stakeholders, and ultimately recommended to the Council for approval. The work plan is funded by Bonneville, investor-owned utilities, the Energy Trust of Oregon, customer-owned utilities, and other organizations in the Northwest. In addition, the Council contributes staff support and other in-kind support to the RTF. The majority of the work plan supports a team of dedicated contract analysts that are selected through a competitive bid process. Other components of the work plan are bid out to contractors on an as needed basis.

Policy Advisory Committee

The RTF Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) was created to advice the Council regarding policy and governance issues of the RTF. The PAC provides policy recommendations to the Council on how best to meet the mutual needs of the RTF’s stakeholders, while ensuring that the RTF maintains its role as the pre-eminent independent technical body on energy efficiency in the region. More information is available at the PAC website.

Policy Advisory Committee