November 2018 Newsletter
Governor's Recommended Budget Takes Bold Step on Climate
Earlier this week, Governor Brown released her 2019-21 recommended budget, which includes an exciting proposal for a new agency: the Oregon Climate Authority. Information about the Governor’s Recommended Budget can be found here; the section on the Oregon Climate Authority begins on page 137.
The proposed Oregon Climate Authority would be responsible for implementing the state’s climate and clean energy strategies and tracking progress toward the state’s climate goals. This would include a carbon cap-and-trade program, greenhouse gas emissions reporting and accounting, energy markets data and analysis, energy and climate policy analysis, and other energy programs central to the state’s climate and clean energy goals. This ambitious proposal puts climate policy front and center in state government – exactly where it should be.
This is big news that has significant implications for the Oregon Department of Energy. ODOE would cease to exist, and our functions, along with those of the Carbon Policy Office at the Department of Administrative Services and some of DEQ’s greenhouse gas reporting work, would be consolidated into the new agency. Due to the cost sharing of administrative resources between divisions, the Governor’s Budget anticipates a reduction in the Energy Supplier Assessment by at least 25 percent, when compared to the 2017-19 biennium.
The details of this budget proposal will need to be worked out during the legislative session. We don’t yet know what this will mean for each ODOE employee, project, and program. As the Governor and the legislature continue to refine this concept, we will continue to operate as the Oregon Department of Energy and fulfill our statutory obligations and requirements. We'll also keep you informed as we have more information to share.
ODOE is excited about this next step for Oregon, and our team looks forward to further conversations with you as the concept develops. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions.
ODOE's Biennial Energy Report Making Waves
Earlier this month, the Oregon Department of Energy released our new Biennial Energy Report. The report is a clearinghouse of energy-related information, with details about Oregon's electricity-generating resources, stats about how Oregonians heat their homes, and deep dives into topics critical to Oregon's energy future.
The positive response to the report has been encouraging. As ODOE Director Janine Benner mentioned in the report's introduction, last year, we asked Oregonians what they wanted to see in a new energy report for the state. More than 250 people responded with great ideas. It was heartening to see such enthusiasm for energy, and while we didn't include every suggestion we received, we certainly tried. The resulting report is fairly long, but we've broken it down on a special Biennial Energy Report web page to help you focus on the issues of greatest interest.
Read the full announcement of the Biennial Energy Report on our blog.
National Climate Assessment Showcases Oregon Expertise
Last week, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released volume two of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Lesley Jantarasami, a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy, was one of five Oregon-based authors of the report, which assesses the impacts of climate change on the United States and includes region-specific details. She was lead author of a chapter focused on the effects of climate change on tribes and Indigenous peoples.
Lesley takes us behind the scenes in this interview about the development of the report and some of the main takeaways from her chapter. She notes that this year's assessment includes actions many tribes and Indigenous peoples have implemented to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change. Report authors used that information to put together an interactive map of resilience actions taken by Indigenous peoples. As Lesley notes, tribes and tribal organizations in the Pacific Northwest have the highest concentration of climate resilience activities.
ODOE Holds Solar + Battery Storage Workshop for Utilities
Today, ODOE is hosting a solar-plus-battery-storage workshop in Salem. This technical workshop was targeted to utility managers, and we're pleased to have representatives from McMinnville Water & Light, Umatilla Electric, PacifiCorp, Eugene Water & Electric Board, and Northern Wasco PUD, among other participants.
The agenda was developed to showcase how northwest utilities are enhancing local energy resiliency and supporting grid operations through the use of battery storage systems coupled to solar installations.
ODOE senior policy analyst Rob Del Mar kicked the workshop off with a summary of battery storage projects implemented by Puget Sound Energy. Tyler Nice from EWEB presented on the Grid Edge Demonstration Project (a project ODOE was proud to help support!). Darren Murtaugh and Keven Whitener from Portland General Electric presented on the Salem Smart Energy Center and other regional projects. Over a working lunch, Dan Borneo from Sandia National Laboratories gave an overview on battery technology and how it's changing.
Thanks to PGE for arranging a tour of the Salem Smart Energy Center for workshop participants.
EWEB's energy storage project is also a topic at an upcoming webinar hosted by Clean Energy States Alliance. EWEB representatives and our own Rob Del Mar will present. Details here.
Reports From Around the Agency
The latest episode of Grounded, ODOE's energy podcast series, is available for download. This month's episode, featuring Rogue Disposal & Recycling, is all about turning waste into useful energy. Listen to the episode here or through your favorite podcast application. And don't miss the connection to ODOE's new Renewable Natural Gas report, which highlights the potential of RNG to replace conventional natural gas in Oregon.
Earlier this week, ODOE Director Janine Benner attended the annual tribal-state government-to-government summit in Grand Ronde. The state of Oregon and the nine federally recognized tribal governments of Oregon participated, with an agenda focused on the importance of government-to-government relations and consultation. The summit followed an internal workshop ODOE held earlier this fall for staff to reinforce the importance of understanding tribal relations and cultural resources in our work.
Director Benner is also featured in this article, "Oregon Takes a Strong Stand for Clean Energy," from the Yale Center for Business and the Environment.
The Energy Facility Siting Council, and the ODOE staff who support the Council's work, are busy. How busy? The Energy Facility Siting team is currently reviewing more projects at one time than ever before, with five full applications, eight amendments, and two requests to be exempt from having to get a site certificate. Projects include utility-scale solar and wind, battery storage, large-scale transmission, and the tallest wind turbines ever proposed in Oregon. Keep up with the latest updates on energy facilities in Oregon on our website.
In other energy facility news, we've updated our Jordan Cove Energy Project state agency dashboard with news from the Oregon Department of State Lands, which is tentatively planning for public meetings in early 2019 on a project permit.
ICYMI last month, ODOE submitted comments on a U.S. Department of Energy proposal to reclassify high-level waste at Hanford. Start here to read our comments and view a presentation on the proposal.
Miss last month's newsletter? Find it here!