Photo: Oregon Windmills

Sheila Sund

Leaves are falling, but clean energy is on the rise in Oregon

Clean Electricity at a Great Price 

Great news on Oregon’s transition to clean electricity: Our groundbreaking law to phase out coal and double renewable electricity will be incredibly affordable for ratepayers. In fact, Pacific Power recently announced that the transition will affect rates by less than one-tenth of a percent. Transitioning to clean energy is great for the climate, and as the cost of renewable energy continues to decline, shifting away from increasingly costly fossil fuels will save Oregonians money 

Looking Forward to 2017 

But our success with increasing renewable energy is not enough on its own for Oregon to meet its climate goals. Oregon needs policies that will drive greenhouse gas reductions in all phases of our economy, including transportation, homes, and businesses. That’s why we’re working on a suite of strategies, including for next year’s legislative session.   

We need further reductions from our transportation sector – the single largest source of emissions in Oregon. Our state needs a modern transportation system that provides safe, affordable, and clean transportation options for everyoneStatewide conversations about a new transportation funding package are already underway, and we are supporting investments in convenient public transportation, safe places to walk and bike, and electrification of cars, trucks, and buses 

We’re also advocating for Oregon to account for the cost of climate pollution and level the playing field for clean energy solutions. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is currently studying the efficacy of a market-based system that caps pollution and invests the proceeds in projects that lift up disadvantaged and rural communities. We look forward to legislation in 2017 to create this type of system for Oregon as an integral part of the state's climate strategy.   

We will also work with allies to implement strong financial incentives for electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and renewables. 2017 will also see the start of Oregon's new community solar and electric charging programs, both of which were authorized as part of last year's clean electricity, coal transition legislation.

Making Buildings Energy Efficient  

Oregon has the chance to drive greater emissions reductions from its building sector. Once a national leader in green building, Oregon is now falling behind other states in setting efficiency standards for residential and commercial buildings. With extensive new construction expected in the coming decades, improving building efficiency standards will yield significant climate benefits and lower utility bills

David Heslam photo

At a recent event with Climate Solutions 350 Club members, David Heslam, Executive Director at Earth Advantage, Paul Del Vecchio, Principal at Ethos Development, and Climate Solutions board member Lavinia Gordon discussed the need for updated building standards in Oregon. Our neighboring states are already on track to reduce energy use from new buildings by at least 65%. Oregon has an opportunity to reduce climate pollution and save households and businesses money 

Staff Transitions

After two amazing and successful years at Climate Solutions, Kristen Sheeran has moved on from her role as state director. The last two years have seen Oregon achieve two of the nation's most significant climate victories: The Clean Fuels program and the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act. We're incredibly grateful to Kristen for helping us achieve such big wins. Kristen has worked on climate and clean energy for many years, and will be continuing that work at 3Degrees, a clean energy company 

Former board member David Van’t Hof is the Acting State Director for the next several months. David has decades of experience in clean technology, renewable energy, and carbon regulation, having served as Governor Kulongoski's Climate and Renewable Energy Advisor, worked in private law practice with two Portland law firms focusing on renewable energy development, and serving on the board of numerous energy and climate related non profits. Combined with his deep knowledge of Climate Solutions, we’re excited to be bringing David on board in this capacity. 

Gregg Small's picture

Executive Director

, Climate Solutions

Gregg brings nearly 25 years of experience working on environmental and public policy issues, including 20 as an Executive Director. At Climate Solutions, Gregg oversees a staff of two dozen policy experts, campaigners, innovators, and researchers across three Northwest offices, providing strategic direction for one of the most effective regional climate and clean economy organizations in the nation. 

Prior to coming to Climate Solutions, Gregg served as the Executive Director of the Washington Toxics Coalition for 7 years and as the Executive Director of the California-based Pesticide Watch for 5 years. During that time, he played a leadership role in creating and developing a number of leading coalitions working on environmental health issues, including the Toxic Free Legacy Coalition,Californians for Pesticide Reform, and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Bodies. At Climate Solutions, he helped to found the Washington-based Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and Renew Oregon.

Gregg began his professional career as an organizer for Green Corps, working in Washington, DC, Vermont, and California. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Dickinson College.

When not at work, Gregg spends time with his family and raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that his son Jude has and that he is passionate about finding a cure for.