Oregon recently expanded its renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to 20% by 2020, 27% by 2025 and 50% by 2040 in an effort to make the state rely more on renewable generation such as wind, solar and hydroelectric and to obtain less electrical generation from coal-fired power plants.

Eligible renewable technologies for the state RPS are wind, solar, hydroelectric, ocean thermal, wave, tidal, geothermal, biomass/biogas and municipal solid waste.

Currently, Industrial Info is tracking 51 planned renewable projects in Oregon valued at $9.4 billion. Of these, 16 are grassroot projects valued at $6.8 billion, with seven wind projects worth $3 billion, four solar projects worth $389 million, four hydroelectric projects worth $3.36 billion, and one geothermal project worth $120 million. Portland General Electric (PGE) (Portland, Oregon) recently released its integrated resource plan (IRP), which looks to support the state RPS, and in which PGE would acquire 515 megawatts of wind generation in order to take advantage of the RPS goals.

Oregon currently obtains 42.8% of its electrical generation from hydro, 33.6% from coal, 13.5% from natural gas, 5.6% from wind and 0.07% from solar.

Oregon became the first state to ban coal-fired electrical generation earlier this year as the result of a push by environmental groups and compliance from the Democrat-led legislature, which has led to the electrical industry warning of rate hikes and possible brownouts for customers in the future. For more information, see March 23, 2016, article - Oregon Bans Coal, Doubles its Renewables Mandate.

The state is facing a budget shortfall due to lower job growth and, in turn, less income taxes for the state coffers. Governor Kate Brown (D) says there are some very tough budget choices to be made that won't be popular. The budget shortfall was $1.3 billion before the election and with the impact of approved ballot measures, it has increased it to a $1.7 billion deficit.

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