Powering our communities with clean, renewable energy is one of the most important steps we can take to combat the worst effects of climate change. Oregon has the renewable energy potential to commit to 100% clean energy, with solar in sunny Eastern Oregon, offshore wind projects on the Oregon Coast, and so much more. Powering our state with clean energy, instead of dirty fossil fuels, cuts climate emissions from the electricity sector and helps keep our air and water clean. Oregon’s West Coast neighbors California and Washington have both committed to 100% clean electricity, but Oregon hasn’t yet. That could change this year with House Bill 2021, 100% Clean Energy for Oregon.
If 100% Clean Energy for Oregon passes, Oregon’s major utilities will be required to supply customers with 100% clean energy by 2040, with interim targets of 80% clean energy by 2030 and 90% clean energy by 2035. The bill also requires large retail electricity companies to submit clean energy plans to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, who will make sure that the utilities are actually on track to hit the clean energy goals.
100% Clean Energy for Oregon would also prohibit new or expanded natural gas power plants, cutting off the development of any additional polluting natural gas facilities and pointing utilities and power providers towards the truly renewable wind and solar facilities that will actually get us to 100% clean energy.
Renewable energy can be transformative for individual communities, cities and towns, allowing them to reap the benefits of cleaner air, clean energy, and economic development. To make sure that individual communities have the resources to build wind and solar projects in their own backyards, the bill includes convening a workgroup to ensure that the transition to 100% clean energy is bringing real community benefits and establishes a $50 million Community Renewable Investment Fund to fund renewable energy and storage systems.
After years of halting inaction on climate change in the state legislature, 100% Clean Energy for Oregon provides a crucial opportunity for the state to move forward on building a clean energy future and addressing the climate crisis. Supported by environmental groups, utilities, renewable energy providers, and labor groups alike, the legislation lays out a clean energy roadmap for the state and would supercharge renewable energy development. 100% Clean Energy for Oregon represents the future for our state’s energy system and environment, and we hope the legislature makes it a reality.