The Oregon Department of Energy reduces the long-term costs of energy for Oregonians.
Annual Performance Measures
The Oregon Department of Energy was created in 1975.
The agency’s primary program goals include:
- Encouraging investments in conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy resources (by offering tax credits, loans, and grants)
- Providing information and assistance on ways to save energy (to households, businesses, schools, tribes and government agencies)
- Providing technical help and financial incentives to promote the use of renewable energy
- Demonstrating the workability of new technology (energy-saving equipment, appliances, materials, manufacturing processes, and building practices)
- Siting prudent, safe, and environmentally sound energy facilities
- Regulating the cleanup and transportation of radioactive wastes through the state
- Ensuring state preparedness to respond to accidents involving radioactive materials, and
- Providing oversight of the Hanford nuclear cleanup to ensure cleanup decisions are protective of Oregon and the Columbia River
Residential Energy Tax Credit
Tax credits are available for qualifying renewable energy systems, alternative fuel vehicle fueling systems, and energy efficient heating and ventilation systems. The tax credit amount for qualifying equipment or systems is based on the energy saved and the cost of the equipment. The maximum tax credit for each item is the amount listed on the Oregon Department of Energy's qualifying list, or 25 percent of the eligible net purchase cost, whichever is less.
Energy Incentives Program
Conservation Tax Credits
Tax credits are available for Oregon businesses that invest in energy conservation. These credits are awarded through a competitive process, except for small premium project tax credits that have a predetermined credit based on deemed energy savings.
Transportation Tax Credits
Tax credits are available for both alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure and transit services. AFVI credits are available on a first-come basis until the amount allocated is fully subscribed. Transit credits are awarded competitively.
For all credits, the tax credits can cover costs directly related to the project, including equipment cost, engineering and design fees, materials, supplies and installation costs. The tax credit amount varies by the type of project completed and is usually 35 percent of the eligible project costs. The credit is generally taken over five years and the application must be submitted for the tax credit before the project starts, unless a waiver is granted.
State Energy Loan Program
The purpose of SELP is to promote energy conservation and renewable energy resource development. SELP can loan to individuals, businesses, schools, cities, counties, special districts, state and federal agencies, public corporations, cooperatives, tribes, and non-profits. The program offers low-interest, fixed-rate loans for projects that: save energy; produce energy from renewable resources such as water, wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, waste materials or waste heat; use recycled materials to create products; or use alternative fuels.
Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Technology
EEAST was established by House Bill 2626 (2009) and provides easy-to-use financing for residential and commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Oregon. EEAST provides 100 percent upfront long-term, low-interest loans to property owners that can be paid back on the utility bill and transferred to a subsequent owner. Loans can be for up to $40,000 for residential and small commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy technology.
Community Renewable Energy Feasibility Fund
CREFF is a program that funds feasibility studies for renewable energy, heat, and fuel projects in Oregon. The fund is administered by the Oregon Department of Energy with goals of encouraging widespread adoption of renewable energy projects that reduce Oregon’s dependence on fossil-based energy sources and promoting sustainable economic development within the state. The maximum award for any proposal is $50,000, and no more than 75 percent of the total study cost.
Senate Bill 1149 (2001) provides that Portland General Electric and Pacific Power must collect a public-purpose charge from consumers within their service areas that is equal to 3 percent of the total revenues from electricity services. Ten percent of these public purpose funds must go towards energy efficiency efforts in the public schools within their service areas. The administration of the school public purpose funds is being facilitated by the Oregon Department of Energy in cooperation with the Education Service Districts and individual school districts.
STATE ENERGY EFFICIENCY DESIGN
SEED was established in 1991 by the Oregon Legislature. State agencies are directed to work with the Oregon Department of Energy to ensure cost-effective energy conservation measures are included in new and renovated public buildings. The law was revised in 2001 to require that state facilities constructed after June 30, 2001 exceed the energy conservation provisions of the Oregon State building code by 20 percent or more. House Bill 2620 (2007) requires that public entities spend 1.5 percent of the total contract price of a public improvement contract for new construction or major renovation of a public building on solar energy technology.
ENERGY FACILITY SITING
Most large energy facilities in Oregon are under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council. The Oregon legislature determines what types of energy facilities require Council review. An energy facility developer must apply to EFSC for a site certificate and must supply information about the proposed facility and the proposed site.
RESPONDING TO NUCLEAR EMERGENCIES AND INTERRUPTIONS IN PETROLEUM SUPPLY
Oregon is prepared to respond to a nuclear emergency at nearby facilities. These include:
- U.S. Department of Energy facilities at the Hanford Site in Eastern Washington;
- Energy Northwest´s commercial nuclear power plant at Hanford;
- The shutdown of the Trojan nuclear power plant near Rainier, Oregon; and
- Research reactors at Oregon State University in Corvallis and Reed College in Portland.
Despite the very low risk, the State of Oregon and affected Oregon counties are prepared for nuclear emergencies and also for emergencies involving the transport of radioactive waste through Oregon. The agency also would administer a fuel allocation program during events of long-term gas and diesel supply disruptions.