May 2019 Newsletter


Exciting Developments in Building Efficiency

Earlier this month, Kaci Radcliffe, an ODOE Energy Analyst who focuses on resource conservation and sustainability, attended the National Association of State Energy Officials Western Regional meeting, where she participated on a panel focused on grid-interactive buildings and energy efficiency.

This is an area of increasing focus across the nation, where grid operators, regulatory and policy staff, and customers are working together to expand energy efficient buildings to be connected, smart, and flexible enough to become a resource when addressing peak, load, and resiliency issues.

The convergence of energy efficiency, grid operations, and energy planning is no surprise. Oregon has long been a leader on improving the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses. Building on decades of success, in fall 2017, Governor Brown issued the built environment energy efficiency Executive Order, which directed state agencies to implement a number of strategies designed to keep Oregon on the cutting edge of energy efficiency. Learn all about this multi-pronged effort and the progress we’re making here.

At the same time, Oregon and the broader western region have been expanding approaches to grid management and offering greater customer choice. This includes testing different ways to meet peak demand, use renewable electricity generated at buildings, and work with building owners and “smart” products. Pilot projects are underway that test strategies such as incentives to customers for allowing grid operators to adjust settings on grid-connected products like water heaters or electric vehicles.

The NASEO panel focused on exploring the characteristics of grid-interactive efficient buildings, new opportunities available in the region, and how buildings can be seen as a resource for the grid and customer energy savings.

It also highlighted a new partnership between NASEO and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. They’ve launched a new working group made up of 14 states from across the country, which ODOE’s Radcliffe will co-chair alongside staff from the Minnesota PUC. The working group will meet over the next several months and hold a September workshop at the NASEO Annual Meeting. Along the way, they’ll discuss test projects and pilots, valuation of grid and customer benefits, addressing concerns such as privacy and security, and other topics.

The work is supported by US Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office and National Laboratories, which will provide technical assistance. We’ll keep you updated on what we learn and next steps for the working group. In the meantime, here’s some work that various utilities around Oregon are doing on smart meters and grids. While much of this work has focused on residential applications, the takeaways will be instrumental for managing commercial buildings and furthering community energy goals.

Portland General Electric
Pacific Power
Eugene Water & Electric Board

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Boardman to Hemingway Project Reaches Key Milestone

On May 22, the Oregon Department of Energy's facility siting team published its Draft Proposed Order for the proposed Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line, a 300-mile transmission line that would travel from Boardman, OR to southwest Idaho. Idaho Power's complete application to EFSC was more than 20,000 pages. It has been analyzed by ODOE staff and reviewers across the state, and the resulting Draft Proposed Order (a much smaller 600-plus pages) is now open for public review and comment.

The Energy Facility Siting Council will now hold a public hearing in each of the five counties through which the B2H line would travel. Learn more about the project and how to submit comments, find dates for the upcoming hearings, and read the Draft Proposed Order on our website

Spring COU Managers Meeting Covers a Lot of Ground

Managers from several of Oregon's consumer-owned utilities joined us on May 13 in Salem for our semi-annual COU Managers Meeting. We reported out on progress on Oregon's electric vehicle goals and heard from Juan Serpa Munoz from the Eugene Water & Electric Board, who talked about the strategies his utility is using to encourage EV adoption and implement best EV charging practices. That led to a great discussion on electrification and how utilities are managing changes to transportation and other sectors. 

We also reviewed ODOE's Solar Dashboard; discussed the Energy Imbalance Market; heard the latest on the state's timeline for a climate adaptation framework update; and shared a preview of the upcoming Guidebook to Local Energy Resilience. One interesting takeaway for the ODOE team was learning how utilities in rural parts of Oregon are finding and recruiting linemen and other employees. This prompted a few light bulbs over ODOE staffers' heads as we consider important topics to include in the next Biennial Energy Report

Thanks to all who attended, and stay tuned for details on a fall meeting.

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Oregon Legislature Marches Toward June Deadline

The challenge with providing a legislative update on May 31 is that any information we share today has the potential to be quickly out of date. As the session winds down, the decisions and milestones speed up.

That said, here's what we're tracking right now:

  • House Bill 2020 and Senate Bill 928 are both in the Joint Ways and Means Committee. The first establishes a new cap-and-trade program for Oregon; the second creates the Oregon Climate Authority. Decisions made on SB 928 directly affect our budget, and, if asked, we are prepared to present information on ODOE's agency request budget, which we shared with stakeholders last summer. 

  • Senate Bill 2618 creates a new solar incentive program for the state, while SB 2329 would make changes to siting renewable energy projects. 

  • House Bill 451 would allow certain facilities to be eligible for the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard. 

In other legislative news, Deanna Henry, ODOE Emergency Preparedness Manager, presented to the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Oregon's Fuel Action Plan. You can watch Deanna's presentation here and check out ODOE's Oregon Fuel Action Plan on our website.

Not-to-be-Missed Media Coverage of Wind Facility Repower and Renewable Energy

On May 17, the Energy Facility Siting Council approved an amendment for the Stateline Wind Project to "repower" up to 43 of its wind turbines. Repowering the wind turbines involves replacing the existing turbine blades and the nacelles (the part that houses the generating components), which will make electricity generation more efficient at Stateline, senior siting analyst Sarah Esterson told OPB. Stateline is Oregon's oldest EFSC-jurisdiction wind project, first approved in 2001.

Renewable energy was also on Oregon Business's mind this month, with an in-depth piece about the changing landscape of electricity generation in the West. Is Oregon ready to lead an "energy revolution?"


Reports From Around the Agency

  • Janine Benner joined the Eugene Water & Electric Board on May 11 for the grand opening of its new emergency water station and energy storage project. ODOE was proud to support EWEB's project through a joint grant with Sandia National Laboratories, Advanced Grid Research, and Clean Energy States Alliance.

  • State agencies continue to collaborate on supporting the electrification of Oregon's transportation system. The Zero Emission Vehicle Interagency Working Group, which is tasked with implementing the Governor's Executive Order No. 17-21, held its first public meeting earlier this month. 

  • Come work with us! We're hiring a senior developer for our IT team

  • May 15 marked the 30th anniversary of the original Tri-Party Agreement, which mapped out a plan to ensure proper cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Site. We talked about the history of the site, progress so far, and what's next for Hanford on our blog.

  • Speaking of Hanford, yesterday, ODOE staff joined up with representatives from Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon State University, and eastern Oregon counties to participate in our annual Hanford Emergency Exercise. This practice run follows February's emergency drill for the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant.

  • Are you participating in the Bike More Challenge? ODOE riders are pushing pedals and putting in the miles as Bike More month wraps up. Check out these stellar riders we highlighted on our blog earlier this month.

  • ICYMI: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is accepting public comments through July 5 on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas facility in Coos Bay. Find helpful links and follow the State of Oregon's process on our Jordan Cove dashboard.


Upcoming Meetings 

Boardman to Hemingway Public Hearings | June 18-20, 26-27 | Various Locations

Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board | July 15-16 | Troutdale


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