The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (“DLCD”), the state agency charged with overseeing and implementing the state’s land use planning program, is proposing new regulations that would prevent developers from siting solar PV facilities on certain farmland deemed high value.  Over the last several years, opposition to the siting of solar PV facilities

Section 1 of the Order sets forth various policy objectives, many of which (e.g., clean, reliable, affordable, safe energy) are goals that should garner bi-partisan support.  How these policies are interpreted by the various heads of agencies will be one factor guiding America’s energy future.  Another policy factor may be critical, contained in section 1(d), that “all agencies should take appropriate actions to promote clean air and clean water for the American people, while also respecting the proper roles of Congress and the States concerning these matters in our constitutional republic.”  This interplay between various states’ initiatives (and those states’ renewable portfolio standards) and the direction in the Order may impact the overall direction and tone set in the Order.
Continue Reading Brief Overview of President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order

President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives.  Secretary Perry started by noting it

Oregon legislators passed Senate Bill (SB) 1547 into law yesterday, creating aggressive timetables for eliminating coal-fired electricity from the State and setting a 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2040. A diverse group of utilities, consumer advocacy organizations, and renewable energy advocates support the bill.  Next stop for SB 1547 is Oregon Governor Katherine Brown’s desk, where she is expected to sign the bill into law.

Key provisions and significance of SB 1547 include:

50% RPS by 2040

Oregon’s two largest utilities – PacifiCorp and PGE – will have a 50% RPS standard by 2040, meaning 50% of their electricity supply must be derived from renewable energy sources. The two largest utilities serve approximately 70% of Oregon customers’ electricity needs. There was no change to the existing requirements on consumer-owned utilities.

  • This is one of the most aggressive RPS standards in the nation, matched only by California and New York, which have a 50% target by 2030, Vermont, which has a 75% target by 2032, and Hawaii, which has a 100% target by 2045.
  • The existing ratepayer protections relating to RPS compliance were retained, capping the incremental costs of compliance at 4% of the utilities annual revenue requirement for a compliance year. A new provision was added to permit the Oregon PUC to temporarily suspend RPS compliance if the utility determines that grid reliability is seriously compromised.
  • The Oregon PUC will implement competitive bidding rules governing electric companies’ RPS implementation plans to ensure that electric companies acquire electricity from diverse renewable energy generators.

Continue Reading Oregon legislators pass historic renewable energy bill, with 50% RPS and coal-fired electricity phaseout