Noting that energy is the issue of our time, Oregon’s Governor John Kitzhaber released a 10-year action plan to “shape our energy future through intentional investment and development,” rather than allowing it to shape us.
The comprehensive energy strategy is focused on cutting greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation.
It includes “specific initiatives that move the dial in the short term and can be scaled up over time.” It is also an economic action plan, he says, emphasizing priorities that put people to work on energy-related projects.
As in California, Oregon will meet all new electricity demands through energy efficiency, and will remove financial and regulatory barriers that get in the way of increasing renewable energy.
A new State Building Innovation Lab will conduct energy audits, establish baseline energy use and implement cost-effective retrofits for every state-owned building over the next 10 years, in four million square feet of office space.
Oregon ranks fourth in the nation in energy efficiency, allowing it to eliminate the need for 8-10 new power plants. New financing tools and rate changes will push this effort further.
Since 2007, renewable energy development has brought more than $5 billion in investments to Oregon, but there are barriers that must be eliminated: outdated and inadequate energy transmission and infrastructure; inefficient and disjointed local, state and federal regulatory processes; and limited public resources.
The plan calls for landscape level planning and streamlined permits to give clean energy developers certainty and predictability. It also calls for developing a regional infrastructure bank to leverage public and private investments.
Oregon is home to one of the biggest wind farms in the world, Shepherd’s Flat.
And in terms of transportation, the plan calls for 20% of large fleets to convert to clean fuel vehicles over the next ten years.
Transportation is the single largest contributor to Oregon’s carbon emissions and a significant source of air toxics. Oregonians consume 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline a year and spend nearly 7% of disposable income on gas, nearly double that of a decade ago.
Over the plan “provides strategies to meld workforce development initiatives, higher education opportunities, and local job creation with clean energy priorities; spur investment while developing home-grown renewable energy resources; and keep capital circulating in our region through local sourcing and supply chains while reducing our dependence on carbon-intensive fuels and foreign oil,” it says.
The 10-year plan is the result of input, advice and technical assistance from hundreds of Oregonians and organizations. A citizen task force met regularly for six months and made nearly 200 recommendations that have been synthesized and incorporated into it.
In 2009, Portland, Oregon adopted a Climate Action Plan. The city’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 6% below 1990 levels even though population has grown 26% over that time, and US emissions have grown 12%.
Here’s the plan: