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Oregon commits to 100% clean and renewable electricity
June 26, 2021

SALEM, Oregon — In a major victory for clean air, healthier communities, and a more livable climate, the Oregon Legislature has passed House Bill 2021: 100% Clean Energy for All.  The bill commits the state to transition 100% of its electricity generation to clean, renewable sources by the year 2040, the fastest such transition in the country, matching New York. It passed with strong support from environmental justice, consumer, environmental, utility and labor groups because it invests in the creation of good, family-wage jobs  that benefit frontline communities.

“As Oregonians swelter in a climate-fueled heat wave this weekend, the Legislature is taking needed action to transition to clean energy. In the face of unrelenting climate impacts, we need unrelenting climate progress. This is a momentous step,” said Meredith Connolly, Oregon Director of Climate Solutions. “Oregon was the first to draw the line on coal, and now we’re the first to draw the line on new fossil gas plants in favor of affordable, reliable, clean electricity. This law ensures every community across our state will have a critical role to play in our clean energy future.”

“Climate change is affecting everyone. But the reality is that some communities in our state feel the impacts more acutely, and yet people in those communities have the least opportunity to be a part of the solution,” said Diana Nuñez, Executive Director of the Oregon Environmental Council. “We’re excited about HB 2021 becuase it puts Oregon on a path toward addressing the climate crisis while creating opportunities for the communities most impacted to benefit from investment in a clean energy future.”

“Make no mistake: a 100-percent clean, affordable, and reliable electric system is the foundation for Oregon's future. Passage of HB 2021 is a really big deal because the legislation offers Oregon a clear and achievable roadmap for cleaning up its electric sector while ensuring affordability for customers and reliability for the system,” said Bob Jenks, Executive Director of Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board. “I'm honored to have worked alongside the most diverse coalition of advocates, businesses, and utilities to have ever supported clean energy legislation in our state's history.”

“HB 2021 serves as a stepping stone for what a just and inclusive career pathway in clean energy can look like for women, communities of color, people with disabilities, and veterans by ensuring apprenticeship training requirements, prevailing wages, health and retirement benefits, and other key responsible contractor language.” shares Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro with BlueGreen Alliance, “The standards as a whole ensure Oregonians will reap the economic opportunities from renewable, storage, and sequestration projects and will serve as a pillar to help transition workers in our path to a decarbonized Oregon.”

“100% clean electricity is not just feasible -- it is the most affordable and reliable way to power our homes and businesses as we modernize the grid and eliminate carbon emissions across the entire economy,” said Max Greene, Regulatory and Policy Director of Renewable Northwest. “HB 2021 will both ensure that Oregon makes the transition to 100% clean electricity at the pace we need and spur the development of new renewable resources providing economic benefits to Oregon communities.”

“Oregon shows today it is capable of being a leader in the nation once again on protecting clean air, speeding the clean energy transition, and doing it collaboratively with frontline communities at the heart of the movement. We’re not the first state to commit to a 100% clean electricity future, but with this law we’ll be among the first to get there,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director of Oregon League of Conservation Voters. “This is the beginning of momentum for climate protection in Oregon that, in the coming years, must only accelerate and encompass a phase out of dirty, polluting fuels in our neighborhoods, in our homes and buildings, and cars, buses, and trucks.”

100% clean electricity is the backbone of a clean energy economy. When we create electricity from clean, renewable sources, that means our homes, buildings, and electric vehicles are all running on clean power. At present, generating electricity accounts for approximately 30% of Oregon’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean electricity is the lowest-cost and most straightforward process to adopt clean energy using technology readily available today. As we electrify everything—from cars and trucks to home heating and industrial manufacturing—we must be able to plug them all into the cleanest electricity possible. This law will achieve that.

Building upon our state’s Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act (SB 1547; 2016), class-leading Clean Fuels Program, and the numerous ongoing actions  required by the Oregon Climate Action Plan (a.k.a. Executive Order 20-04), House Bill 2021 commits Oregon to reduce and eventually eliminate our fossil fuel use for generating electricity, while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants released into our air and ensuring a reliable, sustainable energy supply for today and future generations.

Oregon’s 100% Clean Energy For All bill sets a more aggressive timeline to move to clean energy than our West Coast neighbors and other US states and territories which have also enacted legislation to address the climate crisis by moving toward cleaner sources of power. The bill also institutes a permanent ban on new gas power plants and the expansion of existing ones. This will help ensure that our investments in renewables do not backslide toward a continued reliance on fossil fuels.  scientific consensus that the world must drastically reduce our climate pollution within this decade in order to avert the most disastrous negative impacts of the worsening climate crisis. 

Oregon’s 100% clean energy bill was championed by the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity Campaign, a broad coalition prioritizing the voices and needs of marginalized and frontline communities. The bill includes the strongest labor standards of any similar legislation in the United States to date, setting a new bar by providing economic opportunities, apprenticeship training requirements, and good family-wage jobs while transitioning away from our worst sources of climate change pollution. House Bill 2021 also establishes $50 million in community-based renewable energy project grants that can include disaster-resilient energy systems like community solar-plus-battery setups.

For press inquiries or questions regarding the passage of House Bill 2021, please contact Damon Motz-Storey with the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity Campaign: damon@oregonpsr.org 

 

Jonathan Lee, jonathan.lee@climatesolutions.org
Climate Solutions

Joel Schoening, joels@oeconline.org
Oregon Environmental Council

Doug Moore, doug@olcv.org
Oregon League of Conservation Voters

Max Greene, max@renewablenw.org
Renewable NW

Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro, rvillatoro@bluegreenalliance.org
BlueGreen Alliance

Bob Jenks, bob@oregoncub.org
Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board

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The article was written by Climate Solutions staff. Our individual bios can be found here.