PORTLAND -- A bill committing electricity providers to deliver 100 percent clean power to Oregon customers by 2040 passed out of the Oregon legislature on Saturday. The policy sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold in Oregon compared to a 2010 baseline. The act includes requirements for 80 percent emissions reductions in the sector by 2030, 90 percent by 2035 and, ultimately, 100 percent by 2040. Since emissions from Oregon power have not increased and have, in fact, declined since 2010, the bill will, in effect, require emission-free electricity in the state by 2040 -- the fastest timeline adopted by a state to date.
These new targets will be in addition to the state’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires that 50 percent of the electricity used by Oregonians come from such renewable resources as the sun and wind by 2040. And, while more than 40 percent of the state’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power, most of that generation is decades old and therefore does not count toward the RPS. This means that, in total, renewables are set to deliver the vast majority of the bill’s zero emissions electricity target.
The bill now heads to Gov. Kate Brown, who is expected to sign it into law.
In response, Environment Oregon State Director Celeste Meiffren-Swango released the following statement:
“The Oregon Legislature took a crucial step toward a cleaner, healthier future for Oregonians by passing this commitment to 100 percent clean electricity today. Our state has the resources to be leading on this issue. In fact, we have more than enough solar and wind potential right here in Oregon to meet our electricity needs. With this bill, we have the opportunity to become the eighth state in the U.S. to take up the baton in the nationwide race to 100 percent clean electricity, and to set the pace with the fastest timeline in the country. Achieving that goal, along with our existing renewable energy targets, will protect the health and safety of every Oregonian and the natural beauty of our state.
“Thank you to the bill’s sponsors, especially Representative Khanh Pham and Representative Pam Marsh, and to all who voted in favor of this legislation. We hope that Gov. Brown will add her signature promptly, ushering Oregon into the ranks of clean energy leadership states.”