WE DID IT: 100% clean energy for all Oregonians

HUGE NEWS from Salem!! House Bill 2021, which commits Oregon to 100% clean, carbon-free energy by 2040, was just passed by the state legislature! The Governor has committed to signing it so Oregon will now have the most ambitious 100% clean law in the country. The Pacific Northwest is now the first region in the country on track to 100% Clean and the entire West Coast is now a 100% Clean Coast. This moment has been years in the making, and was made possible thanks to the broad and diverse coalition of environmental justice, consumer advocates, environmental, utility and labor groups uniting to bring the benefits of a clean energy transition to all Oregonians.

By getting to 100% carbon-free by 2040, House Bill 2021 sets the most aggressive clean energy transition timeline among US states and territories with 100% clean energy commitments on the books (only New York matches our pace). The bill also institutes a first-in-the-nation ban on building new fossil fuel power plants and the expansion of existing ones (including gas plants) in Oregon. 

Going forward, all major renewable energy projects built in Oregon will be creating good, family wage jobs and benefits for the workers making our clean energy future possible. The bill has the strongest labor and apprenticeship provisions ever included in a 100% clean law. HB 2021 also contains multi-million dollar investments for community-based renewable energy projects to ensure marginalized and frontline communities throughout the state benefit from the clean energy transition.

This new law will build upon our state’s existing climate protection laws and regulations—the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act (SB 1547; 2016), our class-leading Clean Fuels Program, and the numerous ongoing actions  directed by the Oregon Climate Action Plan (a.k.a. Executive Order 20-04). Now we will have a 100% clean electric grid using solar and wind to power our growing number of electric buses, cars, trucks and appliances in buildings. Considering the record-breaking and potentially deadly heat wave that is scorching Oregon this weekend, this climate progress is necessary and urgent.

This is a huge achievement for clean air and climate action in Oregon. We want to offer a sincere thank you to all of you who have supported the effort and taken actions big and small to make sure our legislature prioritizes climate progress. 

We’re savoring this win and celebrating in spirit with you all today, while gearing up for what’s next. We will be counting on you to speak up and take action again with us in the coming months, particularly as we seek to eliminate direct fossil gas use in buildings and electrify our transportation sector. Stay safe during this dangerous heat wave, and please stay tuned! 

Author Bio

Meredith Connolly

Oregon Director, Climate Solutions

Meredith brings over a decade of climate policy experience to her work accelerating Oregon’s transition to a clean energy economy. She advocates for innovative and equitable policy solutions to reduce pollution and create clean energy jobs across the state. Currently, Meredith leads a team diligently working to electrify everything from cars, trucks, and buses to homes and buildings, and power it all with 100% clean electricity.

Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Meredith was a Climate and Energy Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. At NRDC, she advanced renewable energy policies in the U.S. and internationally. She also implemented programs to protect public health and improve climate resilience to heat waves and air pollution in India’s growing cities. Before NRDC, Meredith practiced law in the private sector.

Meredith is a member of the Oregon and California State Bar Associations. She holds a JD from Boston College Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and French from Santa Clara University. In her free time, Meredith enjoys exploring her incredible home state of Oregon with her family and rooting too loudly for the Portland Thorns and Timbers.