Oregon Legislature Passes Ambitious Clean Electricity Standard, Provides Model for Federal Policy

EDF Statement from Pam Kiely, Associate Vice President for U.S. Climate

June 28, 2021
Chandler Green, (803) 981-2211, chgreen@edf.org

(Salem, OR – June 27, 2021) On Saturday, the Oregon legislature passed a clean electricity standard with one of the fastest timelines for eliminating power sector emissions in the country, requiring retail electricity companies and providers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 80% below baseline levels by 2030, 90% by 2035 and 100% by 2040. The standard’s ambitious timeline, focus on emissions reductions and enforceability make it a strong model for federal policy.

“Oregon’s clean electricity standard is a model for the kind of bold power sector policy we urgently need at the federal level,” said Pam Kiely, Associate Vice President for U.S. Climate at EDF. “Oregon’s focus on what matters for the climate crisis swift, significant cuts in pollution over the next decadeshould be the same focus for an enforceable, federal CES.”

“To fulfill President Biden’s promise to slash U.S. emissions by more than half by 2030, we have to go bold on policy that cuts power sector emissions by at least 80% by 2030, creates good-paying clean energy jobs and reduces harmful air pollution. States like Oregon and Colorado, as well as utilities and other power companies across the nation, are already paving the way with strong clean power goals proving that a federal clean electricity standard is the achievable and impactful policy we need to get done in infrastructure legislation.”

Background on Oregon’s clean electricity standard:

  • The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) determines each company or providers baseline emission level and calculates the required emissions reduction to meet the clean energy targets. By setting a target focused on emissions, rather than on ramping up a particular percentage of renewable energy, Oregon can ensure that pollution declines at the pace and scale necessary.
  • Electric companies and providers are required to submit a clean energy plan to DEQ and the Public Utility Commission for meeting the clean energy targets, while making continual progress.
  • If a retail electricity provider is out of compliance with the clean energy targets for more than 12 months as a result of unplanned emissions, they are required to submit a detailed plan on how they will return to compliance.

Other resources:

  • CES letter to the Biden administration from 13 utilities.
  • EDF spreadsheet summarizing ambitious 2030 utility decarbonization targets.

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