Legislative History, 2009
In October 2008 Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski proposed several climate change initiatives: for the 2009 Session. The Renewable Energy Initiative contained a proposal to "Expand Solar Pilot Projects: To accelerate and expand the use of solar energy in Oregon, this legislation will create a production incentive pilot program that will pay for the electricity produced by a solar project, rather than for the capital investments. Known also as a feed-in tariff, this type of incentive program has led to the installation of more than 2,500 megawatts of solar electricity in Germany. The objective of Oregon's pilot program is to determine if production payments make it more affordable for individuals and communities to invest in solar energy, which could lead to the acceleration and installation of renewable projects".
During the 2009 legislative session, OREP drafted a Renewable Energy Act for the State of Oregon designed to apply Feed-In Tariffs to the production of energy from several renewable sources. The bill was introduced before the House Sustainability and Economic Development Committee as HB3038, along with two solar energy bills: HB 2121 (the Governor’s pilot program for a solar FIT) and HB 3039 (a utility mandate for solar proposed by the solar industry). Deliberations during the session resulted in the passage of HB 3039 Enrolled, which combined elements of all three bills. The Governor signed HB 3039 into law on July 22, 2009. Section 2 of the bill constitutes Oregon’s first Feed-In Tariff legislation.
HB 3039 creates a five-year pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of offering “volumetric incentive payments” to retail electricity customers of Oregon’s investor-owned utilities to create 25MW of solar energy. The cost-effectiveness of using these production-based incentives is to be compared to Oregon’s existing “tax credits plus cash payment” incentive programs for solar. HB3039 establishes a launch date for the program of April 1, 2010.