Oregon: 25% Renewable by 2025?
In June, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed into law a bill creating a renewable energy standard that requires the state's largest utilities to meet 25% of their electric load with new renewable energy sources by 2025. “This bill is the most significant environmental legislation we can enact in more than 30 years that also will stimulate billions of dollars in investment—creating...
In June, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed into law a bill creating a renewable energy standard that requires the state’s largest utilities to meet 25% of their electric load with new renewable energy sources by 2025.
“This bill is the most significant environmental legislation we can enact in more than 30 years that also will stimulate billions of dollars in investment—creating hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs in both urban and rural Oregon,” Kulongoski said. “Today we are not only setting the state on a responsible path toward 25% renewable energy by 2025, but we are protecting our quality of life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stimulating our economy—and protecting ratepayers with more stable and predictable utility rates.”
The legislation creates interim targets of: 5% by 2011; 15% by 2015; 20% by 2020; and 25% by 2025. To meet the standard, electricity must come from a new renewable energy source that was in operation on or after Jan. 1, 1995. Sources of energy that count toward the standard include wind, solar, wave, geothermal, biomass, new hydro or efficiency upgrades to existing hydro facilities.
The legislation also contains protections for ratepayers, including a 4% cost-cap. Utilities are not required to comply with the standard if doing so will result in cost increases of more than 4%. In addition, if none of the options for compliance are cost-effective, utilities have the option to make an alternative compliance payment to help meet their renewable energy requirement under the standard. The money will be placed into an account that can be used at a later date to acquire renewable energy, invest in conservation or, in the case of consumer-owned utilities, research and development.
Utilities that contribute less than 3% to total state energy load are exempt from meeting 25% of their demand with new renewable energy source by 2025. Instead, they must meet either a 5% or 10% target, depending on their size. They also must comply with the large utility standard if they make new investments in coal-fired generation.
“This bill is not the end—it’s just the beginning of a much broader, sustained effort to reestablish and maintain Oregon as a leader in innovative environmental and energy policies that protect our quality of life, contribute to a robust economy and combat global warming,” Kulongoski said. “There is still work before us this session to build on today’s success. We must not leave without enacting the biofuels legislation.”