Oregon makes history on clean energy

I have never been more proud to call myself an Oregonian.

At a pivotal moment, only months after the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Oregon is continuing to drive forward climate progress. Our Legislature has taken a giant step forward on the path to a clean energy economy and addressing our climate crisis.

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In a huge win for all of us, the Legislature passed the Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill with wide support. Oregon is now on a bold new course away from coal and other fossil fuels toward clean, renewable energy.

Burning coal is the world’s largest contributor to climate change, and coal has been a major obstacle to meeting Oregon’s ambitious goals to reduce global warming pollution. More than one third of our homes and businesses still rely on dirty coal power for energy.

The bill will provide a firm end date for coal use in Oregon, protect ratepayers from the escalating financial risks of coal-fired generation, and raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50%. This change doubles the amount of renewable energy such as wind and solar supplied to Oregon homes and businesses, attracting clean energy investment to our region.

In addition, the bill supports the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure, a key strategy for reducing carbon pollution. And it brings the benefits of solar power to low income households and others that can’t install solar on their rooftops, through an innovative community solar program.

Due to the hard work of many Oregonians, this landmark climate legislation raises the bar for electrical power in other states.

Thank you to our bipartisan champions in the legislature for bolstering Oregon’s clean energy legacy and positioning Oregon for growth and success in a carbon-constrained world. We are grateful for your climate leadership. We also want to thank our partners, and the many businesses, organizations, and individuals like you who came together to achieve this historic legislation.

This success demonstrates the real power of the climate movement and the incredible work of Climate Solutions and our partners in the Renew Oregon campaign, building unprecedented support for climate action. Climate Solutions played a leadership role in the campaign from the start, building on our previous efforts to cultivate the policies, political leadership, and business support for a coal to clean energy transition in the region.

Diverse interests working together to find solutions to shared challenges is the Oregon way.  Together we’ve set an important precedent that will serve us well in the years ahead, as we continue to work together to build a thriving clean energy economy in Oregon and the nation.

Author Bio

Kristen Sheeran

former Oregon Director, Climate Solutions

Kristen Sheeran served as Oregon Director of Climate Solutions. Prior to her work with us, she served as the Vice President of Knowledge Systems at Ecotrust, leading a 15 member team including economists, policy specialists, data analysts, software developers, and GIS analysts. She is also the founder and executive director of the Economics for Equity and Environment Network, a network of more than 300 economists from across the country that are organized and committed to applying their expertise to inform climate and clean energy policy and advocacy.

Kristen has a doctorate in economics, and focused her dissertation on equity and efficiency in mitigating climate change. She was a professor of economics for 7 years at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and has written and spoken extensively about climate change and clean energy.

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