Oregon Requires 25 Percent Renewable Power by 2025
June 20, 2007
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed legislation on June 6th that requires the state's utilities to draw on renewable energy for 25% of their power needs by 2025. The state's aggressive new renewable energy policy includes interim targets of 5% renewable power by 2011, 15% by 2015, and 20% by 2020. To meet the requirement, utilities can draw on wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, wave, or tidal energy resources. Utilities can also meet the requirement with new hydropower projects or efficiency upgrades to existing hydropower facilities. Utilities that fall short of the requirement must instead pay a fee into an account that could support research and development, future renewable energy projects, or energy efficiency efforts. The legislation includes a lower standard for small utilities and includes a 4% cost cap: utilities are not required to meet the standard if doing so would result in a cost increase of more than 4%. See the governor's press release, a fact sheet on the bill (PDF 33 KB), and the full text of the bill, Senate Bill 838. Download Adobe Reader.
Oregon is serious about including wave energy as a potential means of meeting the new renewable energy requirement: in May, the governor signed House Bill 2925 to encourage wave energy development in the state. Under the bill, wave energy projects off of Oregon's coast that generate five megawatts or less are exempted from regulations that apply to hydropower projects. The exemption only applies if a license is not required under the Federal Power Act. This legislation also allows university research to continue to test wave energy devices off the Oregon coast. The state is also serious about solar power: on June 11th, the governor signed House Bill 2620, which requires that contracts for construction or renovation of public buildings designate at least 1.5% of the total contract price for solar energy technology and upgrades. See the governor's press releases on the wave energy and solar power bills and the full texts of HB 2925 and HB 2620.
Many of Oregon's neighboring states in the West and the Midwest have also passed significant energy legislation in recent weeks. Colorado passed a large package of energy bills, including bills that create a sales tax exception for renewable power equipment manufacturers, establish a Clean Energy Fund, require local building codes to meet international energy efficiency standards, and require state buildings to meet stringent green building standards. Montana passed a bill that provides tax incentives for development and transmission of renewable energy and biofuels, while Nebraska passed a tax credit for biodiesel producers. Nevada passed a mixed bag of bills, including AB 1, which includes geothermal hot water systems under the state's portfolio standards. The state also reduced its green building tax incentive but added a minimum energy efficiency requirement; effectively banned standard incandescent light bulbs by 2012 by setting a new efficiency standard for light bulbs; required home sellers to provide buyers with a home energy evaluation; and directed the Public Utilities Commission to remove disincentives for natural gas utilities to offer energy efficiency programs. In addition, Oklahoma passed a bill establishing the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center for biofuels research. See the summary of the Colorado legislation (PDF 62 KB); the press releases from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman; the text of Nevada AB 1 (PDF 28 KB); the press release on Nevada legislation from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (PDF 113 KB); and the press release from Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. Download Adobe Reader.