Renewable Energy In Oregon

Renewable Energy In Oregon – After the Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill failed in the face of the GOP rebellion, an electricity-focused, consensus-based bill gained momentum in Oregon.

Democrats, who hold a majority in the Oregon House, sought to pass an economy-wide carbon cap and trade bill in 2019 and 2020, but were thwarted by runaway Republicans in the state House.

Renewable Energy In Oregon

This year, clean energy advocates won broader support and an option they thought was less likely to spark a Republican revolt: a feature that would put two of the nation’s largest investor-owned facilities on the path to zero carbon emissions by 2040. .

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Update: House Bill 2021 passed and now awaits signature from Democratic government. Kate Brown has been supported by environmental advocates such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It also has the support of Portland General Electric and Pacific Electric, Oregon’s two largest investor-owned entities, to reduce the carbon emissions of the electricity they supply in the state by 80 percent by 2030, 90 percent by 2035, and 100 percent by 2035. percent by 2040

The bill’s provisions for cost containment and the participation of labor and community representatives in clean energy development also have the support of taxpayers, including a wide variety of labor unions and environmental justice groups, including the Oregon Public Utilities Commission and the NW Energy Coalition.

Alessandra de la Torre, organizer of the southern Oregon climate justice organization Rogue Climate, explained in an interview Tuesday that her group was inspired by several justice-focused provisions in the bill. “The transition to clean energy should focus on fairness, especially for those who are disproportionately affected by losses in our energy system,” she said.

The coalition of Democratic supporters behind the bill is broader than those gathered for the carbon cap and trade bills introduced in 2019 and 2020, when protests by commercial groups and workers in industries like trucking could face rising fuel and energy costs. . . These bills were repealed by Republican lawmakers, who in some cases prevented state legislatures from reaching the statutory quorum.

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HB 2021 comes as an alternative through the work of the Oregon Transition Coalition, an environmental justice coalition that has been negotiating with groups across the state for months.

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Khan Pham, the group’s former interim director, won the National Assembly election last year. Speaking on Oregon Public Radio this month, she supported the bill “which legally helps create jobs and invest in renewable energy projects in communities and build greater disaster resilience during the transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2040.”

While many state Republicans oppose the bill, at least one representative of the state’s rural northeast, Representative Greg Smith, voted to pass the House Revenue Committee. HB 2021 has not faced the organized opposition that caps and trade bills have faced in the past two years.

“Oregon lags behind in our climate leadership,” said Meredith Connolly, Oregon director of the nonprofit Climate Solutions Group. Oregon did not meet its ten-year-old goal of reducing the economy’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from 1990 levels, and “the state’s emissions continue to increase year-over-year.”

Funding Made Available In Oregon For Small Scale Renewable Energy Projects

At the same time, “Climate effects are increasing at an alarming and alarming rate,” he said. Last summer, the state faced a wildfire season exacerbated by climate change.

According to 2019 data, approximately 37% of Oregon’s electricity comes from the region’s abundant hydroelectric resources, approximately 27% from coal, 25% from natural gas, 5% from wind, 3.5% from nuclear power, and 2% from little of it comes from solar energy.

Most of its fuel comes from abroad. Connolly said Oregon passed a law in 2016 that would phase out its power grid by 2035 and shut down the state’s only coal plant in 2020. However, as coal declined, the country’s dependence on natural gas increased.

HB 2021 will expand the power of PAR and Pacific Electric to distribute electricity to all electricity produced inside or outside state lines. It also prohibits the expansion or construction of new natural gas power plants in Oregon.

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Like HB 2021, changing the state’s current 2030 target from 50 percent renewable energy to 80 percent carbon-free electricity would also increase renewable energy purchases, as both facilities could be 50 percent closer to the target. Connolly The new target should spur the development of 2,750 megawatts of new renewable energy by the end of the decade, according to research by Climate Solutions, NW Energy Alliance and Renewable Northwest.

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He said Oregon’s two major investor-owned utility companies are already using affordable renewable energy. Last year, PGE promised net carbon emissions by 2040 and signed contracts to increase wind, solar and battery storage. Pacific Electric has expanded its clean energy plans based on renewable energy overseas from parent company PacifiCorp, which operates in six states.

Meanwhile, both organizations have expressed concerns about relying entirely on renewable energy and battery storage to meet future demand. PacifiCorp’s six-state long-term energy plan calls for new wind and solar power and energy storage by 2038. But it also hopes to add a new peak natural gas plant outside of Oregon by 2026.

Connolly said HB 2021 would require the Oregon Public Utilities Commission to exempt annual carbon reduction guidelines from applying if it threatens grid reliability or increases customer rates by more than 6 percent per year. He said clean energy advocates hope the waiver doesn’t come into effect, as similar waivers of government renewable financing standards have yet to come into effect.

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Multilateral negotiations on Oregon’s new clean energy bill have also raised foreign environmental and labor justice standards. These include project contracts or general wages and worker benefits for workers working on renewable energy projects larger than 10 megawatts, regardless of whether they’re funded with public money—similar to the bill passed in New York this year and valid for a period of time. vote. I’m waiting in Illinois.

In support of communities, the bill will provide $50 million in grants to promote renewable energy projects outside of Portland, the nation’s largest city, which already has a similar program.

The funds aim to help overcome the economic slowdown from the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of last summer’s wildfires, and upfront cost barriers to small-scale projects that can provide jobs and tax benefits for long-term communities. a. Connolly said there were job losses in the state’s once thriving lumber industry.

Other environmental justice aspects of the bill include research and consideration of the income of low-income taxpayers, Native American tribes, and communities facing power plant pollution during the planning and placement of power plants.

Renewable Energy In Oregon

“This is key for community members: having the opportunity to influence clean energy plans,” said de la Torre of Rogue Climate.

The Energy Affordability Act, another bill already passed in the Oregon Legislature, would create the state’s top-notch low-income taxpayers, as in many other states. “We hope to reach the low-income class and remove the pressure on families struggling to pay their bills,” de la Torreside said.

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One thing HB 2021 does not do is provide a common framework for reducing carbon emissions from transport, building, industry and land use. A similar move has played out in other states’ climate law debates this year, as has the recently passed Colorado bill that sets emissions targets for the electricity, industry, and oil and gas sectors, but not for transportation and buildings.

Failing to pass trade legislation last year, Brown signed an executive order requiring government agencies to implement policies aimed at reducing the economy’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent to 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2035. 2050. However, it is unclear how much power these institutions have to reduce emissions without legal guidance.

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In an interview in early June, Brown said transportation accounts for two-fifths of Oregon’s carbon emissions, and air pollution disproportionately affects low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Bill 2165, which went into law last month, will extend the current discount for electric vehicles and double the discount to $5,000 for those meeting the low or middle income threshold. It will also increase financing for electric charging, including medium and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses.

In the construction industry, the HB 2062 has the ability to set stricter energy efficiency standards for vehicles. But another that would allow cities to adopt more energy-efficient building codes than state-mandated HB 2398 has yet to pass committee for a vote in the next few days. It remains in parliament.

Climate Solutions has supported carbon cap and trade programs similar to the one created in California more than a decade ago, and a similar program was adopted in Washington state this year. But it’s possible to reduce carbon emissions in Oregon’s electricity sector

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