Oregon House Passes Bill To Phase Out Coal And Double Renewable Energy

Feb 15, 2016

Credit Oregon Department of Transportation

The Oregon House Monday approved a bill that would phase out coal and double renewable energy in the state.

The "Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill" [HB 4036] would eliminate the use of coal power in Oregon by 2030. And it would double the state's renewable energy standard by 2040.

Critics say the short legislative session is the wrong time to push through such major changes to the state's energy structure. The pressure comes from trying to head off ballot measures in the November election. Those were filed last October by environmental group, Renew Oregon. Then in January, Renew Oregon reached consensus with utilities, ratepayer advocates and others to put the issue in front of Oregon legislators in the February session. Brad Reed with Renew Oregon says the state has to make the switch.

Reed: "By doubling the Renewable Portfolio Standard, that will definitely grow things like solar and wind; rather than have the utilities invest in big natural gas plants, which is of course a fossil fuel with price volatility and pollution that come along with that."

Reed says the bill has bipartisan support. It passed the House on a 39 to 20 vote and now moves to the Oregon Senate.