Solar HighwayWhy is it Important?

Affordable and reliable energy is critical for the growth of Oregon’s economy and for the well-being of its residents. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to slow the process of climate change. By taking leadership we can help solve this global challenge while creating new industries and jobs in a variety of sectors such as energy efficiency, wind, biomass, wave, solar and geothermal energy, and natural gas and electricity propelled vehicles.


The Oregon Business Plan Goals for Energy

  1. Provide reliable and competitively priced energy, especially for traded-sector industries, enabling Oregon companies to compete globally and provide jobs
  2. Create significant numbers of new jobs in energy efficiency, renewables and clean energy products and services.
  3. Sustain the State’s low carbon footprint (per capita) in comparison to other states and continue to efficiently reduce the rate of carbon emissions based on the level of economic activity

Where We Stand Today

Oregon relies on three main sources of energy.  About half of our energy comes from petroleum, which is mainly used to fuel vehicles.  About 20 percent of our energy is from natural gas, for use in homes, industry and to fire electric generation.  The remainder of our energy comes from electricity.  Oregon’s natural gas and gasoline prices are roughly in line with national prices. Oregon has some of the lowest electric rates in the country, thanks to our abundant hydropower. Largely because of hydropower, Oregonians emit far fewer greenhouse gas emissions per-capita than do most states.

Oregon’s transmission infrastructure for both natural gas and electricity is aging and in need of upgrades to meet population growth and to connect with new supply sources. Oregon is blessed with many individuals and companies that are innovators in green-buildings, biomass, renewable energy technology, electric and natural gas vehicles and energy efficiency services. These firms have the potential to provide innovative solutions to Oregon’s energy challenges.  In addition, exporting those solutions to other places creates new jobs in Oregon.

Oregon’s energy future will be shaped by

  • The continued and increasing competition for energy resources in global energy markets
  • Environmental concerns stemming from global warming and increased levels of green house gasses
  • Aging infrastructure and the need to deliver new renewable energy to population centers, and the need to interconnect and shore up electric & natural gas delivery systems
  • A growng understanding that energy efficiency is a key resource

Oregon Business Plan Energy Strategy

To achieve our goals, Oregon’s energy strategy must be comprehensive, drawing on all of our natural and human resources.

  1. Increased emphasis on energy efficiency in all sectors recognizing it is the largest, lowest cost, cleanest way to meet our goals
  2. Shift from gasoline to electric and natural gas vehicles. (gasoline/diesel are the largest source of carbon emissions)
  3. Update and expand aging transmission and pipelines

Priority Action Items

1.  Expedite electric and natural gas transmission upgrades. 

These upgrades are crucial for enhancing reliability and for meeting goals for carbon reduction. State leadership is needed in crucial areas such as identifying key transmission corridors and expediting land use approvals for multi-jurisdiction approval processes. The December 2010 Oregon Energy Planning Report contains six recommendations developed by the Transmission Siting Review Workgroup that should move forward immediately. In addition, linear projects that don’t come under the Energy Facility Citing Council jurisdiction and projects applying for Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity need similar streamlining of the approval process.  Oregon should adopt changes to the Remove-Fill permitting process to facilitate linear projects and other necessary infrastructure improvements in the transportation, water, energy and other sectors. 

2.  Accelerate energy efficiency efforts

  • Retrofitting school buildings
  • Creating mechanisms for utilities to earn a return on capital for efficiency investments, so
    they can provide another source of capital to fund efficiency.
  • Support models to increase residential and commercial retrofits, such as Clean Energy
    Works Oregon.
  • Accelerate industrial energy efficiency through sector initiatives, such as the NW Food Processors Association effort to achieve 25 percent energy intensity reduction in 10 years.

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