BY EMMA HALL | OB WEB EDITOR
Investment in renewable energy manufacturing and projects in Oregon totals over $9 billion, according to a new report by the Renewable Northwest Project released for Earth Day.
Oregon ranks third in the nation overall for renewable energy. A combination of wind, solar and geothermal projects generates more than $79 million in public revenue and creates an estimated 4,600 jobs in both direct construction and permanent operations and maintenance positions (as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2012).
Oregon ranks 5th in the nation for wind capacity installed, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That wind power has the capacity to power 700,000 Oregon households annually, nearly half of the state. Seattle-based Principle Power plans a 30-megawatt wind energy farm off the coast of Coos Bay, partially funded by a $4 million Department of Energy grant that could expand to as much as $47 million.
Yet it's not all bright and shiny for the renewable energy sector. Just today, SoloPower announced it will suspend operations at its Portland solar panel plant, laying off 29 workers. This comes after ongoing struggles that led to a companywide restructuring and pushed its taxpayer-backed factory months behind schedule. The North Portland fab has been open less than a year.