[Please see full disclosure at end of post]
The Oregon House of Representatives today passed Senate Bill 838, the Oregon Renewable Energy Act with strong, bipartisan support (41-18). The landmark legislation enacts a Renewable Energy Standard requiring Oregon’s largest utilities to obtain 25% of their electricity from clean, homegrown renewable energy sources by 2025. The bill previously passed the Oregon Senate 20-10 on April 10th.
“I think history will remember the Oregon Renewable Energy Act as a landmark piece of legislation, on par with Oregon’s Bottle Bill,” said Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of the Renewable Northwest Project. “The bill will expand the use of Oregon’s generous endowment of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and wave resources and help the state make the transition from fossil fuel dependence to energy independence.”
The bill received widespread public support from constituents across the state during public testimony in the Senate and House. Supporters touted the bill’s potential to increase Oregon’s energy independence, create new jobs, keep more money in Oregon communities, help fight global warming, and protect ratepayers from the rising costs of fossil fuels. The bill received strong support from both rural and urban constituencies.
Rural landowners, and county and city officials from Eastern Oregon were particularly excited about the economic development the bill will bring to their communities. “Renewable energy development will bring a new infusion of revenue to rural Oregon counties that will be crucial to the continuation of critical services,” said former Union County Commissioner, John Lamoreau. “It is estimated that Union county will receive $10 million over the next twenty years from just one wind project, and it’s construction and operation will bring hundreds of jobs to the area.”
“I’ve never seen Oregonians from all four corners of the state come together to support a proposal like this,” said Troy Gagliano, Senior Policy Associate for the Renewable Northwest Project. “The Oregon Renewable Energy Act is that rare piece of legislation that can unite Oregon.”
Led by Governor Ted Kulongoski, the bill received overwhelming support from cities, counties, farmers, labor, businesses, environmentalists, consumer advocates, tribes, students, investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, and the Public Utility Commission. A list of public supporters of the Oregon Renewable Energy Act can be found here
More information about the Oregon Renewable Energy Act can be found at www.PoweringOregonsFuture.org
[Full disclosure: I work for Renewable Northwest Project, key advocates of the proposed Renewable Energy Standard. I wrote the above news release and I am responsible for maintaining the Powering Oregon's Future website and am responsible for most of it's content. I should be no means be considered an 'unbiased party' but have done my best to report in a factual and balanced manner the events that have transpired during the debate on SB 838.]