August 2018 Newsletter
Benner Talks Solar and More at the Oregon Coastal Caucus Economic Summit
ODOE director Janine Benner was on the road much of last week, and her travels included a trip to Lincoln City for the 2018 Oregon Coastal Caucus Economic Summit. Janine served on a panel titled "Creating a Pathway Toward a Clean, Renewable Energy Future" – just the kind of topic we focus on here at ODOE.
Janine had a few takeaways she wanted to share with attendees, and it's fair to say her remarks were on the sunny side. First, she noted the increases in Oregon's installed renewable energy resources across the state, which helps Oregon work toward our climate and carbon reduction goals. But there's room to add more, she noted, and to fully transition our energy systems to a low-carbon, clean energy future. To that point, Janine shared some numbers on solar capacity. Even in a state known for winter rains, Oregon's solar potential is underappreciated, especially on the Oregon coast. The solar resource potential along the coast is rated better than Germany's, which has installed more than 44 gigawatts of solar, or about 100 times as much as Oregon.
She also talked about some of the many positive trends around renewables – from technological advancements, such as more efficient solar panels and more powerful wind turbines, to dramatic cost declines, and from consumer demand for clean energy to leadership from utilities across the state. We're seeing these changes at ODOE; for example, some existing wind facilities are looking at upgrading their turbines with larger, newer models. She closed by emphasizing the importance of smart policy, strategic and appropriate incentives, and the benefits we can gain from electrifying our transportation system in a way that leverages progress already made in cleaning the electric sector.
The panel was moderated by Representative Debbie Boone and also featured Burke Hales, Oregon State University Professor of Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry; Don Sampson, Institute for Tribal Government Executive Director and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Climate Change Project Coordinator; Bill Edmonds, Northwest Natural Gas Director of Environmental Policy and Sustainability; Dave Robertson, Portland General Electric Vice President of Public Policy; and Meredith Connolly, Oregon Director, Climate Solutions.
Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant T-RECS Are a Go
ODOE was pleased to announce on Tuesday that the City of Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant is the state's first facility to be certified as eligible to earn renewable energy certificates for producing thermal energy.
All the details are on the ODOE blog, or hear from Gresham directly on Grounded, our podcast series. The latest episode, "Gresham Powers Through the FOG," is all about the Gresham facility and how they're producing energy at their net-zero facility.
ODOE's certification of the Gresham plant follows a thoughtful, stakeholder-focused rulemaking ODOE initiated after the Oregon Legislature added thermal energy to the list of eligible renewable resources in 2016. These resources are key to the state meeting our Renewable Portfolio Standard goals, and ODOE is proud to certify facilities so they can participate.
Congratulations to Gresham on this awesome achievement. Have questions about certifying a facility or in need of technical expertise on how the RPS works? Please reach out to us!
Drive Electric Week Runs From September 8 to 16
National Drive Electric Week is right around the corner. This year, the Oregon Department of Energy is celebrating zero emissions, a wide array of plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles, and Oregon's ever-expanding network of charging infrastructure. Even better: we're finding that we're not the only ones excited about big gains and meaningful electric vehicle programs underway across the state.
Next week, we're planning a news release that gives a shout-out to initiatives across Oregon that are helping consumers make the switch to electric vehicles. We've already compiled an impressive list of programs and events from Oregon's utilities, and we want to include your activities, too. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything planned for Drive Electric week or if you are currently offering any incentives or rebates.
We'll also be highlighting activities at the state level, including our Go Electric Oregon website and rebate programs offered through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ's Clean Vehicle and Charge Ahead rebate programs offer savings of up to $2,500 for qualifying EVs. Combined with a federal rebate of up to $7,500, consumers can save about a third of the cost of some EV models. With more and more utilities boosting EVs, those savings can rise.
Thanks for helping to spread the word. Look for us on social media, tag your events #GOElectricOR, and thanks for making every week drive electric week in Oregon!
Reports From Around the Agency
- The ODOE blog got a little upgrade earlier this month, with a new layout and updated look. Check it out here.
- And new to the blog: a quick update on some of the outreach work taken on by the ODOE team of late, which also happens to be a reminder that Oregon is beautiful, especially in the summer.
- We have a rulemaking coordinator position open until September 6, and a few other exciting jobs to be announced soon. Come work with us! Visit our jobs page for details.
- Huge shout-out to Debra Smith, who was just nominated to be the next CEO and general manager of Seattle City Light. For the past two years, ODOE staff have had the pleasure of working with Debra in her role as general manager of Central Lincoln PUD on a resiliency project through the National Governors Association. We'll miss working with her but wish her well in this exciting new role!
Earlier this summer, the Energy Facility Siting Council initiated a rulemaking related to the evaluation of proposed solar facilities, and what constitutes a single solar photovoltaic facility. The purpose and goals of the rulemaking are explained on our website along with the steps we'll be taking during the rulemaking process. You'll also find information presented yesterday at the first Rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting on the initiative. Watch our site for updates on future meetings of the RAC.