A bill committing electricity providers to deliver 100% clean power to Oregon customers by 2040 passed both the House and Senate of the Oregon State Legislative Assembly on Saturday. If the policy is signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon will become the eighth state in the United States with a legislative commitment to 100% clean or renewable electricity, joining Hawaii, California, Washington, New Mexico, New York, Maine and Virginia. With this act, Oregon will also boast the fastest timeline in the country to reach this goal. The bill’s passage follows years of advocacy from a broad coalition of stakeholders and organizations, including Environment Oregon, for a clean and renewable future for Oregon.
The policy sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold in Oregon compared to a 2010 baseline. The legislation includes requirements for 80% emissions reductions in the sector by 2030, 90% by 2035 and, ultimately, 100% by 2040. Since emissions from Oregon power have not increased and have, in fact, declined since 2010, the bill will, in effect, require emission-free electricity in the state by 2040. Given the state’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard and existing hydropower generation capacity, renewables are set to deliver the vast majority of the new zero emissions electricity target.
“The Oregon Legislature took a crucial step toward a cleaner, healthier future for Oregonians — and for all Americans — by passing this commitment to a clean and renewable future,” said Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campaign Director Emma Searson in a statement. “Achieving the clean electricity targets set out in this bill, in addition to the state’s existing targets for renewable electricity, will protect the health and safety of every Oregonian. And, this new notch in the nationwide movement’s belt is further proof that the will and momentum we need to transform our energy system for the better is growing in communities from coast to coast. If this commitment is signed into law, Americans from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine — and so many cities and states in between — will be able to watch clean energy replace polluting power sources in their communities over the coming decades.”