Following the heated floor debate and passage of the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill in the Oregon State Senate today, another bill aimed at clean energy projects passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. HB 4037 passed the Oregon State Senate today 22-6 (2 excused), carried by Sen. Bill Hansell (R – 29). The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Kate Brown who is expected to sign it into law.
The bill directs the Oregon Business Development Department to establish a program to incentivize the generation of electricity derived from solar energy. Solar projects between 2 and 10 MW can apply for the incentive and, if selected, will receive half of one cent per kilowatt hour of electricity generated for five years. Developers can apply for the incentives until January 2, 2017, or until 150 MW of solar projects have qualified, whichever comes first.
In response, Environment Oregon State Director Rikki Seguin released the following statement:
“Today is a great day to be an Oregonian - our lawmakers took a strong stand in support of clean energy by passing two truly historic pieces of legislation. SB 1547, the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill, eliminates coal from Oregon’s electricity mix, doubles our commitment to clean energy, and creates a community solar program for Oregon.
HB 4037, which also passed today, is a key tool to ensure that these new clean energy projects get developed here in Oregon. Qualified solar projects built in Oregon will receive an extra financial incentive for the electricity they produce for five years, helping bring down the cost for developers looking to do clean energy business in Oregon. The bill is forward-thinking and balanced, and it functions as a simple and effective tool to get on the right track with solar power. We need more policies like this in order to make Oregon a solar leader.
HB 4037 allows the state to make a financial investment in its clean energy future and get the most solar power for the lowest cost. It is also an investment in Oregon jobs and our local economy, particularly in the sunniest, and often most rural, parts of our state. These projects will create good-paying local jobs in Eastern Oregon and generate the clean power Oregonians are calling for. Today’s passage of HB 4037 will help to grow Oregon’s solar market, create local jobs, and ensure a clean energy future.
The passage of both of these bills is a huge victory for our environment, our health, and our future.”