Since 2009, OREP has worked to remove barriers and help grow the market for renewables in Oregon. By working with a wide range of stakeholders to design innovative legislative concepts with broad appeal, and by engaging at the Public Utility Commission and other regulatory agencies, we have accomplished the following. You can find our goals for 2015 here.
OREP authored and worked with stakeholders from throughout the State to pass Senate Bill 1520, which exempts renewable energy cooperative corporations from the requirement of securities registration, thereby making it simpler and less expensive for community members to pool their resources and build renewable energy projects.
OREP advocated at the Department of Consumer and Business Services to ensure that the rules created for SB 1520 matched the legislative intent of the bill. This intervention transformed the proposed rules from overly restrictive to quite workable. OREP is now joining with others to implement the prototype of Oregon’s first renewable energy cooperative.
OREP contributed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council Generation Advisory Committee to ensure that up-to-date solar cost information is used in modeling for the 7th Plan, which will set top level energy policy for the four-state, northwest region. OREP succeeded in changing the discussion on the cost of utility scale solar and, by organizing expert testimony, has already achieved a 40% reduction in the GRAC solar cost inputs for the model. Our ongoing efforts will likely lead to significant further reductions before the model is run. Additionally, OREP submitted comments to help NWPCC develop process for including the cost of externalities in 7th Plan.
After nearly five years under the fiscal sponsorship of Alliance for Democracy, OREP established an independent 501(c)3 organization, changing our name from Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy to Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progres. OREP continues to advance the transition to locally-owned and locally-generated clean renewable energy sources and has increased involvement in several areas to more broadly support progress towards a clean energy future. OREP provided public opportunities to learn more about energy through webinars, presentations, facility tours, and social media outreach.
OREP also led the effort to defeat a proposed repeal of the solar pilot program and successful efforts to pass HB 2893’s extension of the pilot program, which added 10% more capacity to the pilot program for medium scale business and residential solar installations, saving solar jobs and continuing renewable energy progress for Oregon.
At OREP’s urging, the Oregon Public Utility Commission opened a docket investigating the appropriate calculation of resource value for solar photovoltaic systems. OREP continues work to establish the full value of solar electricity generation, including benefits to the utilities, the grid, ratepayers, the environment and public health.
OREP authored and ultimately passed House Bill 3516 which established rooftop solar energy systems as an outright permitted use on any residential or commercial structure in the state and barred local governments from imposing land use reviews or fees for these installations.
OREP intervened in the writing of Oregon’s Solar Specialty Code, the first statewide solar code in the nation. Preliminary editions of the draft would have limited rooftop solar photovoltaic installations to homes with very large roof areas. OREP’s efforts resulted in a more solar-friendly code that now allows rooftop solar PV installations on most residential roofs.
In 2009, OREP drafted a Feed-in Tariff Act for the State of Oregon designed to apply Feed-In Tariffs to the production of renewable energy from many sources. The bill was introduced into the 2009 Oregon legislative session along with two other FIT proposals. Deliberations resulted in the passage of House Bill 3039, Oregon’s first Feed-In Tariff legislation, in July 2009.
The bill created a five-year pilot program to pay retail electricity customers “volumetric incentive rates” for the production of 25 MW of solar energy and to evaluate the effectiveness of using this incentive compared to using Oregon’s existing tax credit plus cash incentive programs for solar. The pilot program launched on July 1, 2010 and the initial offering sold out in minutes.
OREP successfully inserted language making Oregon’s Feed-In Tariff bill the first in the US to specifically set aside capacity for smaller scale projects. We also saved Oregon taxpayers more than $75 million by removing tax credit financing from the bill, a budget impact that had been overlooked by legislators.
During the administrative rulemaking process in the Oregon Public Utility Commission, OREP proposed and the PUC adopted the first solar incentive program in the nation to set solar production payments based on geographic solar irradiance zones. OREP also developed the solar photovoltaic generation cost methodology used in determining the volumetric incentive rates.
OREP has been a regular presenter at conferences and events such as:
Public Interest Environmental Law Conferences
Future Energy Conferences
Northwest Agricultural Shows
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Earth Care Summits
Solar Now! University
Solar Oregon’s Solar Drinks
Cascade Climate Network Winter Fermentation
Earth Day Events
Oregon Solwest Renewable Energy Resource Fairs
Our articles and op-eds have appeared in The Oregonian, the Statesman Journal and The Register-Guard, and our work has been cited frequently in trade journals and industry magazines. OREP publishes a periodic Policy Digest online, as well as Action Bulletins to our members and partners. OREP has also been featured in numerous radio and local television programs.
OREP actively collaborates with partner organizations to inform and educate the public about the benefits of locally-owned distributed generation, clean renewable energy and advanced energy policy.
We have developed national and international relationships with leading renewable energy and climate organizations and experts, and collaborate actively with state and local government agencies.
OREP intervenes in the public interest in Oregon Public Utility Commission dockets providing research and comments, and watchdogs Oregon’s utilities to hold them accountable and accurate in reports to the PUC and legislature about the solar pilot program.
We organize public forums with national and international renewable energy experts, host webinars and phone conferences, participate in national renewable energy advocacy groups and table at events throughout Oregon.
Our current projects include:
We are undertaking a study of leading renewable energy strategies nationally and internationally in order to report to the legislature on best practices for implementing House Bill 2893, as well as economic analysis of Oregon’s renewable energy policy options.
We will participate in the development of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Seventh Power Plan and advocate for climate action and progress toward fossil-free electricity generation.