September 2018 Newsletter


ODOE Report: Low-Carbon Renewable Natural Gas Could Replace Up to 20 Percent of State's Annual Natural Gas Usage 

On September 21, ODOE officially released a new inventory report of biogas and renewable natural gas potential in Oregon. RNG is a lower carbon fuel produced using methane from long-term waste streams like wastewater, agricultural manure, landfill waste, food waste, and residual material from forest and agricultural harvests.

ODOE staff have been working on the report for more than a year, along with a diverse and dedicated advisory committee. ODOE's goal, as outlined by 2017 legislation: conduct an inventory of potential biogas and RNG production, feedstock or resource quantities and locations, and supply chain infrastructure. What we found is that depending on the method used to produce the RNG, Oregon could have enough resources to replace 10 to 20 percent of the state’s total yearly use of natural gas, the bulk of which is currently imported from other states.

Here's Dan Avery, ODOE senior policy analyst, on the results: “Once in the pipeline, RNG is indistinguishable from fossil-fuel generated natural gas. Oregon homes, businesses, and vehicles have the potential to run on renewably-sourced, low carbon renewable natural gas—and help Oregon achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

The report also outlines barriers to using RNG, as well as a number of recommendations that could help move the industry forward. Some of the recommendations include allowing natural gas companies to buy and sell RNG, studying how to best expand natural gas transportation fueling infrastructure, and exploring financial incentives to support the industry.

The full report, including RNG data, identified barriers, and all recommendations, is available on ODOE’s website. Avery presented the report’s findings to the Oregon House Interim Committee on Energy and Environment on September 24, and to the Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on September 25. Click the links to watch his presentation and learn more.

Latest on Jordan Cove Exemption Request  

Earlier this month, ODOE announced that the September meeting of the Energy Facility Siting Council would be cancelled. The Council had just one item on its September agenda related to a request for exemption from the Jordan Cove Energy Project. Jordan Cove has asked for more time to submit additional information for the agency's review of their exemption request. Once we receive Jordan Cove's amended application for exemption, we'll update the timelines associated with the review of the application. That includes a completeness review by ODOE and further opportunity for the public to weigh in.

More details available here. Also check out our Jordan Cove project dashboard, where various state review processes and other project information is readily available. 

We Told You: Every Week is Drive Electric Week

National Drive Electric Week was in September, and we had a great time promoting events and programs across the state designed to get Oregonians behind the wheel of electricity-fueled vehicles. 

Fortunately, the excitement about electric vehicles is continuing into October. Check out our Go Electric Oregon website for the latest on incentives and promotions across the state. New to the site: a $250 rebate from Central Lincoln PUD for EV charging stations, a $100 electric bill credit for Emerald PUD customers who register an EV, a new incentive pilot program launched by the City of Ashland and Ashland Electric, and $3,000 in savings on a new Nissan Leaf for customers of the Eugene Water & Electric Board and Pacific Power. 

Keep the exciting news coming. Details and tips welcome at

Also in EV news, this week ODOE staffer Jessica Reichers presented the latest on transportation system electrification and the Zero Emissions Vehicles Interagency Working Group to the House Interim Committee on Energy and Environment. Jessica and Andrew Dick from the Oregon Department of Transportation discussed how the group is working together to advance directives outlined in Governor Brown's EV executive order. You can watch their presentation to the committee here. Fun fact: every county in Oregon now has registered EVs on its roads! 

October Shaping Up to be Busy With Public Meetings 

On Tuesday, October 16, the Oregon Department of Energy will hold a public meeting in Portland on the U.S. Department of Energy's proposal to reclassify high-level radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington. 

Ken Niles, who heads up ODOE's Nuclear Safety and Emergency Preparedness division, will be there with his team. Attendees will also hear from other experts working on the issue and have the opportunity to ask questions and offer informal comments.

More details on our blog, and look for a news release in early October. Do you get our news releases? If not, sign up here!

On the other side of the state, ODOE's Energy Facility Siting Team will hold a series of public informational meetings on the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line. Our agency is expecting a complete application from Idaho Power in early October, and the meetings are designed to give Oregonians more information about the project and details about how proposed facilities are reviewed through the state's Energy Facility Siting process. 

The meetings are currently scheduled for the week of October 15 in Ontario, Baker City, La Grande, Pendleton, and Boardman. A formal meeting notice will go out in early October with all the details. If you're interested but aren't currently receiving updates on siting projects, sign up for email notifications here

Last but not least, ODOE is scheduling an Energy Advisory Work Group meeting and a COU managers meeting in October. Watch your email for confirmed times and dates.

If Oregon is ever directly affected by Hanford contamination in the future, it would likely be from contaminated groundwater reaching the Columbia River. That's why groundwater issues have been a priority for our agency since we began working on Hanford in the mid-1980s. Above, ODOE Hanford Hydrogeologist Tom Sicilia  demonstrates how contaminants move in groundwater .

If Oregon is ever directly affected by Hanford contamination in the future, it would likely be from contaminated groundwater reaching the Columbia River. That's why groundwater issues have been a priority for our agency since we began working on Hanford in the mid-1980s. Above, ODOE Hanford Hydrogeologist Tom Sicilia demonstrates how contaminants move in groundwater.

Reports from Around the Agency

  • Alan Zelenka, assistant director in charge of our Policy & Innovation division, was at the National Association of State Energy Offices conference this week with a presentation on our agency's upcoming Biennial Energy Report

  • ODOE staffers were on the road earlier this month touring irrigation modernization projects in Hood River County. Irrigation modernization holds great promise for conserving water, protecting fish, and incorporating small-scale hydroelectric energy production.

  • We have a couple of jobs open at the agency, including a new part-time position working on communications. Love energy and looking for interesting and fun part-time workCheck it out!

  • September was National Emergency Preparedness MonthOn our blog, we shared easy tips for Oregonians to be better prepared for an emergency.

  • Hanford may be decades away from cleanup, but part of Rocky Flats, one of the U.S.’s former nuclear weapons production facilities, reopened to the public this month as a new wildlife refuge.

  • New this month: a dashboard on our website showing the latest updates on energy facilities in Oregon. We’ll update this page monthly, along with a more detailed document on all in-process energy facilities around the state. You can sign up to receive a monthly notice by email when the page is updated.

Upcoming Meetings

Energy Facility Siting Council | September 27-28 | CANCELLED

Hanford Public Meeting | October 16 | Portland 

Energy Facility Siting Council | October 25-26 | Boardman

Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board | November 5-6 | Cascade Locks

Upcoming Rulemakings

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