June 2019 Newsletter
Update from the 2019 Legislative Session
On June 12, ODOE Director Janine Benner presented to the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources on ODOE's two-year agency budget (SB 5545). You can watch or read Director Benner's presentation and see other materials submitted to the Subcommittee on the Oregon Legislature's website.
The full Ways & Means Committee approved the budget on June 14, and as of this morning, the bill is queued up for a third reading on the floor of the Senate. The Constitutional sine die is Sunday, June 30, and the Senate needs a quorum to make decisions on bills. ODOE and more than 25 other state agencies have budget bills still under consideration by the Legislature.
If session ends and budgets have not been passed, a continuing resolution based on current service level budgets would go into effect July 1 and expire September 15, 2019 (HB 5048). Other bills not passed through both chambers by June 30 would die. Bills cannot be carried over to the next session.
It's a changing situation, and we'll give you updates when we have them. We're planning an Energy Advisory Work Group meeting on July 29 from 1 to 3 p.m. where budget and other post-legislative updates will be on the agenda.
New Resilience Handbook Officially Released in July
About two years ago, the Oregon Department of Energy began working with Central Lincoln PUD, the Governor's Office, and the National Governors Association on a project to improve local energy resilience. We've chronicled the progress on our blog, hosted and participated in numerous workshops on energy resilience and emergency preparedness, and combined the work with other efforts underway across the state, including state support for a battery storage project by Eugene Water & Electric Board.
All of this work has led to the development of a new guidebook for small and medium-sized electric utilities looking to enhance their resilience work. In addition to a focused, informative guidebook, we've also built companion web pages to dive deeper into specific topics and highlight the exceptional work different Oregon utilities are taking to make their communities more resilient. Check it out! We are collecting and incorporating feedback and plan on a public launch in early July.
B2H: Five Counties? Check. Five Hearings? Check.
This week and last, the Oregon Department of Energy and Energy Facility Siting Council members held public hearings in five Eastern Oregon counties on the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line. The hearings were one of several opportunities for the public to weigh in on a draft proposed order issued last month for the proposed transmission line. You can read all about the state review process – which is separate from a parallel federal review – on our website.
The hearings – held in Ontario, Baker City, La Grande, Pendleton, and Boardman – have been attended by anywhere from 30 to nearly 200 Oregonians. Project applicant Idaho Power also attended the hearings and was available to answer Council members' questions. Attendees were able to offer their comments directly to Council members, who appreciated the opportunity to hear from people interested in the project. They also could listen to presentations from ODOE staff before preparing written comments. Public comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on August 22, 2019.
After the August 22 comment deadline, ODOE will compile and evaluate all feedback received and present that information to Council members at a future Council meeting (sign up for notices here!). Council is the decision-maker on elements of the project under state jurisdiction, and will use public comments and input from ODOE staff, reviewing agencies, and tribes as it reviews the project. A proposed order is expected later this year.
While the Energy Facility Siting Council was on the road, it also held a meeting last night in Boardman to discuss the proposed Montague Wind Power Facility. This is an approved but not-yet-built facility seeking an amendment to allow for the addition of a solar array and battery storage along with an expanded project boundary and extended construction time.
An Introduction to Home Energy Scoring
Home energy scoring continues to be a hot topic, especially with cities across Oregon interested in ways they can support more energy efficient houses, apartments, commercial spaces, and industrial activities. We recently updated our website with the latest information for consumers, assessors, and communities, including info on how a consistent, statewide standard for scoring a home's energy use benefits homeowners and renters alike.
Oregon is partnering with Earth Advantage to implement the statewide program, which includes training for new home energy assessors around the state. We've had questions about what it means to be a home energy assessor, so we sat down with Laura Klement, owner of Enerstructa, to discuss her work evaluating homes' energy performance. Read what Laura has to say about this burgeoning field.
Summer's Here and That Means Road Trips
With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner, Oregonians are hitting the road and celebrating summer. This month, we compiled some of our favorite tips for improving road trip mileage on the ODOE blog and on the My Oregon News website. Check out our suggestions, and let us know what we missed.
Speaking of electric vehicles, ODOE staffer Jessica Reichers presented on state leadership and EV adoption progress at the Forth EV Roadmap conference last week. You can follow our efforts on the Zero Emission Vehicle Interagency Working Group section of our website and, of course, at Go Electric Oregon.
Reports From Around the Agency
The Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board will meet in Troutdale on July 15 and 16. These meetings are just one way we engage with Oregonians on the Hanford cleanup project, and we seek out and welcome opportunities to talk about this important work. Do you know someone who'd like a presentation on the project and what it means for Oregon? Let us know!
Of course, there are a lot of energy-related topics we love to talk about. Interested in inviting an ODOE speaker to present on resilience, home energy scoring, renewable energy siting, or other topics central to Oregon's energy future? Drop us a line!
Learn more about EVs! On Tuesday, July 2, from 10 to 11 a.m., Clean Energy States Alliance is hosting a webinar on EVs and the electricity system, with a focus on grid operations under different scenarios for EV charging. Details and registration info here.
Save the date: our next Energy Advisory Work Group meeting will be on Monday, July 29. Learn more about the EAWG and watch for a meeting agenda soon.
Just a few more days to submit public comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas facility in Coos Bay. Comments are due by July 5. Find helpful links and follow the State of Oregon's process on our Jordan Cove dashboard.
One last public comment opportunity: Energy Trust is seeking feedback on its draft 2020-2024 Strategic Plan through August 2. Visit Energy Trust’s website to review the draft plan and share your thoughts.
Save the date: the Public Utility Commission of Oregon is partnering with other west coast utility commissions to host a Wildfire Risk Dialogue in Portland on August 16, 2019. The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location and meeting details to come!