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Renewable Resources

Renewables in Oregon

Oregon has one of the most aggressive renewable energy policies in the nation. Our Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that electric utilities meet at least 50 percent of their Oregon load with renewable energy by the year 2040.  But that is not the only activity being undertaken by the state to support the increase of renewable power. Below is information about various renewable energy initiatives overseen by the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC).

 

Community Solar

worker installingsolar panelsCommunity Solar provides a new way for customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, and Idaho Power to participate directly in solar generation in Oregon. This program allows customers to share in the cost, risks, and benefits of new solar projects and is ideal for customers who desire to support clean energy without hosting a solar project on their property, such as renters. Part of what makes Oregon’s program groundbreaking is that 10 percent of the program must be made available to lower income customers.
 
The PUC is working hand-in-hand with the program administrator to develop a program implementation manual, launch the program for Oregon electric utility customers, and ensure a fair and meaningful opportunity for qualifying low income participants. Updates on the implementation of this project are available
 

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

The PUC is working with utilities to plan for the long-term implementation of the RPS at the lowest possible cost and risk to customers while maintaining safe, reliable utility service. RPS is a law, initially established through SB 1149 (1999) and then revised through SB 1547 (2016),  that requires electric utilities to meet customer energy needs with a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources by a certain date – in Oregon it’s 50 percent by 2040. To learn more about how Oregon’s utilities are complying with the RPS, go to these recent reports:
 

Net Metering

solar panels on roof
Oregon’s net metering program began in 1999, requiring all utilities, including investor-owned, public utility districts, municipalities and cooperatives, to allow customers to fund and install renewable generation on their property to offset energy purchases. The renewable project may be up to 25 kW for residential installations, and 2 MW for commercial. In billing periods during which the utility delivers more kWh to the customer site than it receives from the on-site renewable project, the customer is billed for each kWh-based charge, plus standard monthly charges. If the customer sends more kWh to the utility than it receives, the kWh credit is carried over for up to 12 months. If excess remains at the end of a-12 month period, it is transferred to customers enrolled in the public utility's low-income assistance programs. View the Solar Incentives Report for more information.
 

Voluntary Green Programs

Oregon requires large investor-owned electric utilities to offer green power programs to residential and small commercial customers. As a result, Pacific Power offers Blue Sky, and Portland General Electric offers Clean Wind, Green Source, and Green Future Solar. These programs enable residents to support renewable energy equal to all or part of their energy usage. Northwest Natural offers Smart Energy, which is a program that purchases carbon offsets and retires them on behalf of enrolled customers. When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Oregon’s electric utilities operate the top-performing programs in the country based on enrollment and customer participation levels. They are mature programs with direct oversight from an advisory citizen committee – the Portfolio Options Committee – and the PUC.
 

Energy Trust Renewable Incentives

As part of a law passed in 1999, Energy Trust of Oregon provides financial incentives and technical support for projects that generate renewable energy from solar, hydropower, biopower, wind and geothermal resources on behalf of the customers of PGE and PacifiCorp. Energy Trust is a non-profit entity overseen by the PUC.

 

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