This afternoon, the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill (SB 1547) passed the Oregon State Senate. This vote followed that of the House of Representatives, which passed the bill with bipartisan support yesterday morning. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Kate Brown who is expected to sign it into law.
The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill was supported by a diverse coalition of rural counties, utilities, consumer groups, businesses, health, faith, low-income and environmental groups.
In response, Environment Oregon State Director Rikki Seguin released the following statement:
“Today is a historic day for Oregon – our lawmakers have stepped up to the plate and put Oregon on a plan to shift away from fossil fuels and tap into the power of the wind and sun. This is a significant victory for Oregon’s environment, and for the health of our planet.
It’s becoming clearer than ever that climate change is a real threat to the health of Oregon communities and families across the state, whether due to more intense and frequent forest fires or extreme summer drought. Coal-fired power plants are the leading source of global warming pollution in the country, and today Oregon showed that we are serious about combatting this problem. The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill leads the way forward by eliminating coal from Oregon’s electricity mix.
In addition to the already impressive job of removing coal from the electricity mix and increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50%, SB 1547 also includes language to create a community solar program for Oregon, the rulemaking for which must be completed by July 1, 2017. Community solar projects will help the nearly 3 out of 4 Oregonians who lack the ability to install solar panels on their own roof. The program will allow individuals and businesses to purchase solar panels located in a solar array elsewhere in the state and get the same energy savings on their utility bill as if the panels were located on their roof.
Beyond the environmental benefits, opening the market for clean energy resources like wind and solar also has the potential to bring stable and safe clean energy jobs to our state. The solar industry, for example, already provides more than 2,100 jobs in installation, manufacturing, and other related fields across Oregon. Instead of sending billions of dollars out-of-state to continue to purchase dirty power, we can now work to keep our dollars in Oregon and build our own clean energy economy.
The passage of the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill is a huge victory for our environment, our health, and our future.”