Oregon Governor Signs Bill into Law Phasing Out Coal-fired Power

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday, March 11, signed into law a measure (Senate Bill 1547) making Oregon the first state to eliminate coal from its energy supply by legislation, which will happen in phases through 2030.

It also requires utilities to provide half of their customers’ power from renewable sources by 2040, which doubles the previous standard.

The Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board said in January that several environmental groups have reached an agreement with Berkshire Hathaway Energy affiliate PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric (PGE) on the legislative proposal to phase out coal.

The bill evidently includes a provision that PGE’s share of the Colstrip coal plant in Montana would be phased out by 2035 at the latest.

“Knowing how important it is to Oregonians to act on climate change, a wide range of stakeholders came to the table around Oregonians’ investments in coal and renewable energy,” Brown said.

“Working together, they found a path to best equip our state with the energy resource mix of the future,” Brown said. “Now, Oregon will be less reliant on fossil fuels and shift our focus to clean energy. I’m proud to sign a bill that moves Oregon forward, together with the shared values of current and future generations.”

The signing was held at an elementary school in Portland using solar panels to generate electricity.

Lead image: Oregon State Capitol building. Credit:  Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.

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