Oregon: state of green

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Utilities: The conservation solution

Number of green jobs: 407

In 2010 more than 120,000 Oregon electric customers chose to pay a little extra on their power bills to support renewable energy. Only Texas, with more than six times the population, signed up more people for so-called green pricing, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. When it comes to cutting carbon and conserving power, Oregon’s electric customers put their money where their mouth is. Governor Kitzhaber’s 10-year Energy Action Plan aims to offset all electrical load growth with conservation, and so far Oregon is on track. That’s thanks in part to laws dating back to 1999 requiring the state’s largest utilities to divert about 5% of revenues to conservation. The Energy Trust of Oregon uses those funds to incentivize weatherization, small-scale renewable power and the purchase of efficient appliances. Since 2002 those efforts have saved 368 megawatts, helping Oregon reduce electricity consumption even as its population grew.

0613 StateOfGreen 02“We’re buying energy through efficiency at 2.5 cents a kilowatt hour, a third of the cost for electricity and less than two-thirds the cost for natural gas,” says Margie Harris, Energy Trust’s executive director. “So we’re getting a very fine deal.”

Additionally, Clean Energy Works Oregon has given homeowners $2.7 million in rebates for about 2,400 residential energy upgrades since 2011. The nonprofit is bringing down energy use in 19 counties by leveraging $20 million in federal stimulus funding.

Oregon also aims to cut the environmental impact of its utilities through renewable portfolio standards. By generating or acquiring electricity from renewable sources equivalent to 16.9% of its Oregon load in 2011, Portland General Electric blew past its 5% RPS target for that year, according to the state’s Public Utility Commission. So did Pacific Power, with 13.5% green generation.

0613 StateOfGreen 03The electricity market is not confined to state borders, though. About 80% of the electricity generated in Oregon comes from hydro plants and other renewable sources, but much of that clean power is exported to utilities meeting renewable portfolio standards in other states. For example, Southern California Edison purchases all the power generated by the 845-megawatt Shepherds Flats wind-energy project in eastern Oregon.

According to the Oregon Department of Energy, 35.5% of the power Oregonians use still comes from coal, and another 16.2% comes from natural gas. Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard will eventually bring those percentages down as the state aims to consume 25% of its power from renewable sources by 2025. But in doing so, it will likely face competition for green energy from other Western states with similar targets.



 

More Articles

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Wildcards

Guest Blog
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
China A SharesBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty in Greece and China, along with potential interest rate hikes mean investors are looking at the market and nervously questioning where they should be invested.


Read more...

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS