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Sustainable Business Oregon
by: Christina Williams
December 17, 2012

Gov. Kitzhaber releases final 10-year energy plan for Oregon

Gov. John Kitzhaber on Monday released the final version of his 10-Year Energy Action Plan, an outline for energy policy and focus for Oregon that sets out to improve energy efficiency across the state, boost clean energy development and accelerate the transition to a cleaner transportation system.

The final version follows months of public comment and revision of the draft of the plan , which was released in June.

The plan itself isn't much different from the draft plan, but the comment period and revisions helped hone the focus of the plan, according to those involved in the process. Some 1,200 comments were submitted during the comment period.

"In general we received a lot of support for the plan's main priorities," said Margi Hoffmann, Kitzhaber's energy adviser. "But there was a lot of stakeholder input that helped us refine our approach."

For example, Hoffmann said, there is more clarity in the plan for how incentives for energy efficiency improvements will be structured in commercial and multifamily settings where the owners of the buildings aren't always the one paying the utility bills.

The plan is meant to set strategy to create energy investment opportunities and keep more of the $14 billion that Oregon spends on energy each year — according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — inside the state's borders. It addresses energy efficiency, renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction and transportation objectives.

John Audley, deputy director for Renewable Northwest and informal adviser to the plan's development said his organization supports the plan in part because of the activity it's generating from a policy perspective.

"Because the Governor stepped in and launched this plan, we're about to see quite a few new energy bills introduced in the legislative session," Audley said. "We're doing our best to get ready for that."

Audley said the number of bills likely to be introduced in the upcoming session — addressing everything from renewable energy incentives to upgrading transmission lines to the siting of ground mounted solar installations — is bigger than in recent sessions, due in part to Kitzhaber's focus on the topic.

An appendix to the plan released Monday breaks out the policy priorities addressed by the strategy and indicates which priorities will be addressed by legislation.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to build a more competitive and resilient economy while improving the health of the environment,” Kitzhaber said in a statement. “Oregon is consistently ranked as one of the most energy efficient states in the country. This plan builds on that leadership and boosts home-grown renewable energy, clean energy infrastructure, and Oregon companies.”


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