Friday, March 04, 2016

Oregon Passes Bill to Boost Renewables, Exit from Coal

Oregon's only remaining coal plant, in Boardman, is scheduled to close by the end of 2020. (Credit: Olivia Bucks/The Oregonian/2005) Click to Enlarge.
Oregon lawmakers Wednesday approved a bill to raise the state's share of renewable energy to 50 percent and quit its reliance on coal-fired power.

S.B. 1547, sponsored by state Sen. Lee Beyer (D), passed the state Senate 17-12 on a party line vote.  It now heads to Gov. Kate Brown (D), who is expected to sign it. It passed the state House 38-20 on Tuesday.

Originally put forth by the state's two largest utilities and a cadre of environmental groups, the bill would instruct the utilities -- Pacific Power and Portland General Electric -- to exit their out-of-state coal contracts by 2030.  It would also raise the state's renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2040 from the current target of 25 percent by 2025.

The bill would make Oregon's relatively green electricity mix even greener.  The state got nearly three-quarters of its electricity from hydropower and other renewables in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and its only in-state coal-fired power plant, Boardman, is scheduled to close by the end of 2020.

Environmental groups hailed the bill as the most significant climate action in the United States since the U.N. climate talks in Paris in December.

"Oregon's transition to a low-carbon power system will benefit the economy and the environment and should serve as a model for other states to follow," said Adrienne Alvord, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Western states director.

"The Oregon Legislature's decision to phase out coal power is a huge step toward a clean energy future and puts the state at the forefront of climate leadership," she said.

Read more at Ore. Passes Bill to Boost Renewables, Exit from Coal

No comments:

Post a Comment