Report: Oregon should get 10% of its power from solar
By Lee van der Voo
Sustainable Business Oregon contributing writer
At a Monday press conference, Oregon's solar industry was front and center. Dignitaries on hand from left to right, Sarah Higginbotham, state director for Environment Oregon; John Audley, deputy director for Renewable Northwest Project; Judy Barnes, co-founder, Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy; Glenn Montgomery (at the podium), executive director, Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association; Ron "Mac" McDowell, president of Solar Oregon; and Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland.
Solar power advocates issued a rallying cry Monday with the release of a report by citizen-based nonprofit Environment Oregon, which found that rooftop solar could generate 10 percent of Oregon’s electricity use by 2025.
The report (available for viewing here) listed key recommendations to reach the 10 percent goal, and had support from at least one legislator — Oregon Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland — who announced plans to expand the state’s Clean Contracts system in the next legislative session.
Flanked by Bailey and by renewable energy advocates, Environment Oregon’s state director Sarah Higgenbotham said the state could feasibly develop almost 30 percent of its rooftop potential in the next 13 years, enough to power the homes in the city of Portland. She also noted solar farms on vacant land could bring another 10 percent of Oregon’s electricity supply, and that solar water-heating systems could reduce the state’s water heating needs by 6 percent.
Higginbotham laid out a series of polices Oregon should enact to accelerate solar development, including carving out a portion of the 25 percent renewable portfolio standard (the state is aiming for 25 percent of its energy output coming from renewable energy by 2025) and earmarking it specifically for solar energy, or by extending the state’s feed-in tariff program.
Bailey said he supports the 10 percent goal. And in remarks made on the solar-powered ecoroof of the SolTerra Systems office in Southeast Portland, he also vowed to introduce legislation to back it up.
“I am proud to announce today that I will be introducing, in this coming legislative session, a bill to establish and expand our statewide CLEAN Contract system to ensure that we have the most comprehensive and robust incentives for renewable energy and solar energy in the entire nation,” he said.
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