Kitzhaber airs plan for 10-year energy strategy for Oregon
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced the start of a 10-year plan for Oregon's energy future.
Gov. John Kitzhaber said Wednesday that it's time for Oregon to develop a 10-year strategy for energy as a way to provide clear direction for energy policies and incentives.
Speaking at the Future Energy Conference in Portland, and later in an interview with Sustainable Business Oregon, Kitzhaber said that he will elevate energy policy and a movement toward a clean energy economy as one of several priorities in his administration.
"The two fastest-growing fixed costs for businesses, individuals and families are energy and health care," Kitzhaber said. "And the fact is that energy is much more in our control than health care."
Kitzhaber added that he sees a movement to a clean energy economy, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy, providing a clear path to job creation.
"It's a trickle-up effort," Kitzhaber said. "These kinds of jobs can't be exported."
Efficiency has been a key plank in Kitzhaber's platform since his days on the campaign trail. He's backing a "Cool Schools" bill in the Oregon Legislature that aims to create jobs and save money for schools by conducting energy audits and efficiency audits at school buildings statewide.
But a wider focus on energy strategy would also address issues such as renewable energy and carbon-reduction goals, planning and building transmission lines and the nurturing of a supply chain to support clean-energy companies.
In addition, it would shape the state's incentive structure, of which the beleaguered Business Energy Tax Credit is a key part.
Kitzhaber added that he sees a 10-year plan as valuable in making decisions that pit environmental concerns against energy development projects, a friction that has cropped up increasingly in rural Oregon.
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