| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski on
Wednesday signed into law a requirement that 25 percent of
power delivered by the state's biggest utilities be made from
renewable sources by 2025.
Oregon became at least the 24th U.S. state to have
established a 'renewable portfolio standard." It is the last of
the three Pacific Coast states, that also include Washington
and California, to establish an RPS.
Oregon plans to have steps along the way to 2025. It set
targets for 5 percent by 2011, 15 percent by 2015, and 20
percent by 2020.
Two investor-owned utilities -- Portland General Electric
and PacifiCorp., a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. unit of Mid-American
Holdings Co. -- and one publicly owned utility, Eugene Water
and Electric Board (EWEB), are affected.
Portland Gen with about 800,000 customers delivers 43
percent of Oregon's power, PacifiCorp with about 550,000
customers delivers 30 percent and EWEB with about 85,000
customers delivers 6 percent.
Utilities that do not deliver at least 3 percent of the
state's electricity will have to meet less demanding targets.
"This bill is the most significant environmental
legislation we can enact in more than 30 years that will also
stimulate billions of dollars in investment creating hundreds,
if not thousands, of jobs in both urban and rural Oregon,"
Kulongoski said. "Today we are ... protecting our quality of
life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stimulating our
economy and protecting ratepayers with more stable and
predictable utility rates."
To be counted, the renewable sources must have not been in
operation after January 1, 1995. This means that much of the
state's sizable hydropower generation will not be counted.
Sources that will count toward the target include wind, solar,
wave, geothermal, biomass, new hydro projects or efficiency
upgrades to existing hydro projects.
Utilities will not be required to comply with the standard
if the result will be a rise of more than 4 percent in
Kulongoski said the Oregon legislature in its current
session "must not leave without enacting" a biofuels package
including development incentives and mandates for future levels
of biofuels in fuel blends, and expansion of a business energy
tax credit program of up to 50 percent on projects of up to $20
A federal renewable portfolio standard may pass the U.S.
Congress this year. It is likely to appear as an amendment to
an energy bill put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
of Nevada. That bill may come to the Senate floor as early as
next week, said a spokesman for New Mexico Democrat Sen. Jeff
Bingaman, chairman of the energy and natural resources
This proposed federal standard for renewables at 15 percent
would not supersede more stringent state targets, said David
Marks of Bingaman's office.