Oregon is falling behind the rest of the nation on clean energy, according to a new report released today by Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center. According to the report, solar grew by 32.5-fold in Oregon compared to nearly 40-fold nationally, and wind grew by 2.5-fold compared to a nearly 5-fold increase nationally. On a brighter note, Oregon ranked 5th for the number of registered electric vehicles on the road.
“We’re falling behind and missing huge opportunities to transition Oregon’s economy to a cleaner, healthier future powered by renewable energy,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, State Director with Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center. “But, the progress we’ve seen in the last decade on wind, solar and other technologies like electric cars and battery storage, should give Oregonians the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.”
The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Positions America for a 100% Renewable Future, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicles. Oregon ranked 13th for wind, 21st for solar and 15th for energy efficiency, but is a national leader on electric vehicle adoption.
"The adoption of electric vehicles have a lasting impact on the economy, carbon reduction and air quality," said Esther Pullido, Program Manager at Forth. "For the last seven years, Forth has been committed to advancing electrification projects in Oregon with the focus on electric vehicle adoption, policy and infrastructure, and it's clear that work is paying off."
“Oregon has seen significant progress on clean energy and has helped lead on clean energy,” said Meiffren-Swango. “But, we have a long way to go to make the kind of energy transformation that is needed and to fulfill our potential to meet our energy needs with clean, renewable energy.”
The report comes as a diverse group of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions commit to 100 percent renewable energy. In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the country to set a 100 percent renewable energy requirement, and similar bills in both Massachusetts and California have cleared major hurdles this year. At the local level, 61 American cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have committed to that goal, including Portland. In addition, 131 major companies, including Bank of America, Google and Anheuser-Busch have committed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.
“The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water and land, threatening our health and changing our climate even faster than scientists predicted,” said Meiffren-Swango. “We need to seize the moment, build on recent progress and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy.”
Repowering our economy with clean, renewable energy can put our nation on a healthier, more sustainable course. And with rapid improvements in technology, vast clean energy resources, and a willing public, a future powered entirely by clean, renewable energy is increasingly within our reach.
Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.environmentoregoncenter.org.