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RNP Press Release
July 15, 1999

Oregon passes law boosting clean, renewable sources of energy

Renewable energy got a boost today when the Oregon House voted 58-0 to concur with the Senate version of House Bill 3219, a law requiring Oregon utilities to offer "net metering" to small-scale solar, wind and hydroelectric systems. Fuel cells can also qualify. The Senate passed HB 3219 yesterday by a 27-0 vote.

HB 3219 is supported by Renewable Northwest and the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association.
"Net metering" allows customers who own small renewable energy systems or fuel cells to offset electricity purchases from their utility by running their meter backwards while their small-scale sources are at work. At the end of each billing period, consumers pay for only the "net" energy purchased from the utility.
"This legislation provides significant new incentives for utility customers to generate their own power using renewable energy," said Peter West, Senior Policy Associate for the Portland-based Renewable Northwest. Added West, "Oregon's net metering law will make investing in renewable energy easier and more attractive for utility customers motivated by considerations of environmental protection or energy self-sufficiency."
Beginning later this year, utilities will be required to offer net metering to customers with home solar, wind, fuel-cell or hydro systems of less than 25 kilowatts. Only systems meeting national standards for safety and power quality can qualify.
"This breaks down artificial market barriers and is a necessary first step to move Oregon into the Solar Age, " said Frank Vignola, President of the Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association (OSEIA).
Oregon will be the fourth state in the Northwest to adopt net metering. Montana passed similar legislation earlier this year and Washington passed an equivalent law last year. The Idaho Public Utility Commission has adopted an Order on net metering.
Aside from Renewable Northwest and OSEIA, HB 3219 is supported by over twenty industry associations, environmental groups and utilities, including Ashland Municipal Electric, Emerald People’s Utility District, Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric.
The bill has been carried by Charles Starr in the Senate and Bill Witt in the House.
Renewable Northwest is a regional advocacy organization promoting the implementation of solar, wind and geothermal resources in the Northwest.
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For more information contact:
Rachel Shimshak, Director
Renewable Northwest Project
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