Energy conservation may finally be getting its moment in the sun: The Northwest Power Planning Council, a multi-state agency with a mandate to balance power production and environmental concerns in the Pacific Northwest, is asking Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington to invest in conservation measures rather than the construction of new power plants. According to the NPPC, energy conservation could yield an extra 300 megawatts over three years — as much power as can be generated by a new natural gas plant. The conservation planning chief for the Bonneville Power Administration, which generates nearly half the power in the Pacific Northwest, says power savings will come from a wide variety of sources — from modernizing machinery to shutting down vending machines during off hours.