While the Oregon Legislature has a very brief 30 day session beginning next month, one very significant energy bill will be considered. After a series of closed door meetings between some environmental organizations and utility executives with PGE and PacifiCorp, a legislative concept was agreed to which would, in majority part, remove coal generation from the rates paid by those utility customers in Oregon and increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from its current 25% to 50% by the year 2040. The bill will contain some other features related to community solar and a brief mention of the important role that energy efficiency plays in the state’s energy mix – though there are no requirements for the two utilities to do more energy efficiency from the current business as usual level of acquisition. The environmental proponents of the bill, Renew Oregon, have pledged to pursue this outcome through a previously qualified ballot initiative in November should the Legislature fail to pass the bill. It is unusual when bills of this magnitude get considered in short 30 day legislative sessions. The effort has caught the attention of the state’s largest newspaper, The Oregonian, who has already editorialized their opposition even before the bill language was introduced. Many political observers, however, are still speculating that the bill will be successful despite the narrow time window it has for passage.
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