Oregon Aims to Decarbonize Electricity Sector by 2040

Source: RL Martin

On July 19, 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a comprehensive clean energy bill, which will require the state’s largest utilities to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation by 2040. The law outlines interim steps of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2030 and 90 percent by 2035 based on a baseline emissions level of each utility’s average GHG emissions between 2010-2012, and tasks Portland General Electric and Pacific Power with aligning their Integrated Resource Plans accordingly. With this law, Oregon sets the fastest timeline to eliminate GHG emissions from the electricity sector in the country. 

The clean energy bill also includes funding for the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) to promote energy resilience and small-scale clean energy projects, and tasks ODOE with studying small-scale renewable energy. Additional bills codify new energy efficiency standards for consumer products and call for ODOE to study renewable hydrogen, floating offshore wind, and regional transmission organizations. Another bill allows for Oregon’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) to consider differential energy burdens on low-income customers in the ratemaking processes for electric and natural gas utilities; that same bill also provides financial assistance to organizations representing low-income customers and members of the environmental justice communities. For more information about Oregon’s 2021 energy bills, please click here.