Gov. Brown Signs Ambitious Clean Energy Bill

Governor Kate Brown signed the hopeful House Bill 2021 this week.  

The bill tasks Pacific Power and PGE, as well as five other smaller providers, with supplying fully clean energy by 2040, with milestones set for carbon neutrality and 80% clean energy by 2030, and 90% clean energy by 2035. 

While Oregon isn’t the first state to commit to a similar bill, the timeline it has set is certainly ambitious.  

Not only is it more clear than Washington and California’s comparative bills in specific deadlines that providers will have to meet, but it aims for a fully clean and carbon neutral state power grid five years earlier. 

HB 2021 has several other stipulations: 

  1. Energy providers cannot expand or construct new power plants that burn any fossil fuels, including natural gas. 
  2. $50 million in grants are available for community renewable energy projects outside of Portland, which has its own similar fund. 
  3. Cities in Oregon will be allowed to create “green tariffs.” In practice, this allows cities to pay more money for cleaner sources of energy to meet climate goals. 
  4. Power companies must consider input from low-income ratepayers, federally recognized indigenous tribes, environmental justice advocates, and more, while developing strategies to meet mandated goals. 
  5. Labor standards for large-scale renewable energy projects built in the state of Oregon have been set. 

While some smaller communities will be exempted or offered extensions if reliability issues occur or it implies economic hardship on ratepayers, many are wondering how communities’ power grids will be affected. 

While this is a step in the right direction towards a carbon-neutral Oregon, there’s still much more work to be done if the state wants to see these goals come to fruition. 

By Ethan Hauck