What Powers Oregon: Oregon Department of Energy’s New Electricity Resource Mix Shows Oregonians Which Resources Keep the Lights On
SALEM — The Oregon Department of Energy has launched an interactive tool for Oregonians to see what’s powering their homes and businesses. People across the state can use the agency’s comprehensive Electricity Resource Mix to find specific information about the energy sources Oregon’s electric utilities use to provide electricity to their customers.
Oregon’s electricity comes from a variety of resources – from hydropower produced primarily along the Columbia River to both in- and out-of-state natural gas, coal, and wind facilities. “Public and private utilities rely on different types and amounts of energy resources to deliver electricity,” said Janine Benner, ODOE director. “With our new interactive tool, we’re offering Oregonians a more detailed view of how each Oregon utility company keeps the lights on.”
In addition to the utility-specific resource information, the updated Electricity Resource Mix shows carbon dioxide emissions by utility and the vast network of electricity generation across the west. Because electricity is bought and sold across state lines, much of the electricity Oregonians consume is generated outside the state. Oregon also generates electricity that is sold to and used by out-of-state buyers.
The Electricity Resource Mix highlights the increasing diversity of resources powering the state, which is important as more renewable energy comes online to meet Oregon’s 50 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2040. While most of the state’s electricity comes from hydropower, coal, and natural gas, Oregon also gets electricity from nuclear power produced in Washington state and a host of renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, landfills, and more.
Wind and solar in particular make up an increasingly larger share of Oregon’s resources – a trend that is expected to continue. Earlier this year, Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council, which makes decisions on large energy facilities, approved a new 75-megawatt solar generation facility outside of Boardman – Oregon's largest approved solar facility to date. Four additional wind facilities, totaling nearly 1,400 megawatts, have been approved by the Council for construction in the Columbia Gorge. Another four proposed solar facilities, representing a total of 810 megawatts, and more than 550 megawatts of wind at two different facilities are currently under review by the Council.