- Oregon's two biggest investor-owned utilities are supporting legislation that would compel them to meet a 50% renewable portfolio standard — double the current goal — and phase out coal power generation and imports in the state's portfolio, the Oregonian reports.
- House Bill 4030 would require utilities to eliminate coal imports by 2035 and meet 50% of consumer demand with renewable energy by 2040. The measure is the product of a compromise last month between utilities and environmental advocates, who had threatened to push for a more stringent renewables package in a ballot initiative.
- The utilities are backing the compromise bill over another competing measure announced last month that aims to set hard caps on emissions and a market-like structure for allowances.
Oregon's investor-owned utilities have picked which carbon regulation bill they are backing, throwing support behind House Bill 4036, which The Oregonian reports would eliminate imports of coal power, boost renewable and generate tradeable credits to offset the costs.
In early January, Oregon's investor-owned utilities — PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric — reached a compromise with environmental advocates, with the companies agreeing to support HB 4036 if the greens dropped their push for a ballot initiative on the subject. The bill, the utilities say, gives them more time to phase out their coal-fired generation.
This week, the utilities took to the state legislature to testify to lawmakers that the bill would deliver significant cost savings over the ballot proposal. PacifiCorp believes its plan will save $600 million by 2030; Portland General Electric said its own plan could save between $220-$360 million over the next 25 years.
According to Stefan Bird, president and CEO of Pacific Power, HB 4036 “meaningfully moves Oregon towards a cleaner energy future in a way that is both doable and affordable, and does so in a far better way for customers than ballot measure alternatives.”
Organizations backing the bill along with the IOUs include The Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Sierra Club.