Kitzhaber reviews energy goals for Oregon

Gov. John Kitzhaber reviewed his call for a 10-year energy plan Wednesday.

Gov. John Kitzhaber reviewed his call for a 10-year energy plan Wednesday.

Gov. John Kitzhaber reviewed his goals for Oregon's energy picture Wednesday in a speech at the Future Energy Conference.

In a speech that made headlines for Kitzhaber's call for a sweeping environmental review of coal export facilities proposed in the Pacific Northwest, the governor talked up regional partnerships and his efforts to draw up a proactive plan for state energy planning.

Kitzhaber originally announced his 10-year-energy-plan push at last year's Future Energy conference, which gathers renewable energy developers, policy makers and their ilk at the Oregon Convention Center.

This year, Kitzhaber raised his concern that economic concerns are eclipsing clean energy progress.

"A troubling narrative is beginning to reemerge in America," Kitzhaber said, "that sound environmental stewardship is a barrier to economic growth and job creation."

As "Exhibit A," Kitzhaber pointed to the study commissioned by the Pacific Coast Collaborative — a group representing the governments of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia — that pegged the West Coast's clean economy sector at $47 billion.

Kitzhaber highlighted the collaborative's commitment to create 1 million new jobs in the region by focusing on energy efficiency, transportation and other clean sectors.

As for Oregon's 10-year energy plan, Kitzhaber said his staff is sorting through 198 recommendations dredged up during the committee process which got underway last March. He promised a draft of the plan for review by June 1.

The plan will focus in three areas, Kitzhaber said, including maximizing energy efficiency, tearing down barriers to clean energy development and accelerating the transition to a cleaner transportation system.

He closed his speech by posing the rhetorical question: "Will we shape our energy future or will it shape us?"

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