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Summary of Oregon's RPS
 
The Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) was originally enacted in 2007 through Senate Bill 838.  Current Renewable Portfolio Standard law is captured under ORS 469A.  Oregon Department of Energy implementing rules are under OAR 330-150 and OAR 330-160; the Public Utility Commission rules are under OAR 860-083.
 
The Renewable Portfolio Standard requires Oregon utilities to meet a percentage of their retail electricity needs with qualified renewable resources. For Oregon’s three largest utilities (Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp and the Eugene Water and Electric Board), the standard starts at 5% in 2011, increases to 15% in 2015, 20% in 2020, and 25% in 2025. Other electric utilities in the state, depending on size, have standards of 5% or 10% in 2025.

Eligible generating facilities mostly include those that began operation on or after January 1, 1995. Facilities must be located in the Western Electricity Coordination Council (British Columbia, Alberta, some or all of 14 U.S. states, and northern Baja California). Beginning January 1, 2007, renewable power from eligible resources can create Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that may be used for compliance.    Renewable power generation is reported to Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS), which then creates RECs.
 
Eligible resources include biomass, geothermal, hydropower, ocean thermal, solar, tidal, wave, wind and hydrogen (if produced from any of these sources). Biomass and hydropower resources have additional limitations.  In 2010, the Legislature amended the Renewable Portfolio Standard through House Bill 3649 and House Bill 3674.  These new laws expanded eligibility for certain biomass and hydropower facilities that began to operate before 1995.
 
An Oregon utility may comply with the RPS using any or a combination of the following options:
  1. Build an eligible facility (or continue to operate an existing one) and retain REC output from these facilities.
  2. Buy power and REC output (a bundled REC) from another eligible facility.
  3. Buy unbundled REC output. 
  4. Make “alternative compliance payments” with options to use these funds for construction of an eligible facility in the future.
 
PGE and PacifiCorp may meet up to 20% of their annual obligation with unbundled REC output; EWEB may meet up to 50% of their annual obligation with unbundled REC output.

The 2025 Standard
 
Twenty-five percent of the projected load for PGE and PacifiCorp in 2025 is 1,218 average megawatt (aMW), enough to serve just over 1 million residential customers.