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A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for Oregon
Introduction

The 2007 Legislature created a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires the largest utilities in Oregon to provide 25 percent of their retail sales of electricity from newer, clean, renewable sources of energy by 2025. Smaller utilities have similar, but lesser, obligations. Details on the RPS can be found on this page. 
  

Summary of Oregon's RPS

Originally enacted in 2007 through Senate Bill 838, the Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires Oregon utilities to deliver a percentage of their electricity from renewable resources by 2025. 

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 conditional limitations.  In 2010, the Legislature enacted House Bill 3649 and House Bill 3674, expanding eligibility for certain biomass and hydropower facilities that began operation before 1995.

See a list of legislative changes to the RPS here.

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.

For Oregon’s three largest utilities (Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp and Eugene Water and Electric Board), the standard starts at 5% in 2011, increases to 15% in 2015, 20% in 2020, and 25% in 2025. All other electric utilities in the state, depending on size, have standards of 5% or 10% in 2025.  See a list of these utilities and their portion of state load here.

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” RECs, separate from the power.  Statute limits how much of the obligation may be met with unbundled RECs.
  4. Make “alternative compliance payments” with options to use these funds for construction of an eligible facility in the future.

See a more detailed summary of the Oregon RPS here.

 

Statute and Rules

The RPS statute is listed under ​ORS 469A. The Oregon Department of Energy implementing rules are under OAR 330-160; the Public Utility Commission rules are under OAR 860-083.