A new study indicates that strenuous mandates and increasing electricity costs have not helped Oregon improve its renewable energy standing.
Oregon politicians tout their state’s work in combating climate change. Recent laws and regulatory efforts have made the progressive enclave a hot spot for green energy interests. With a renewable portfolio standard of 50 percent by 2040, Oregon has one of the most stringent renewable standards in the country — only surpassed by Hawaii’s 100 percent by 2045 and Vermont’s 75 percent by 2032.
Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has been leading the charge. The liberal governor signed legislation in March 2016 that made Oregon the first state in the country to eliminate coal from its power supply, while also boosting its renewable energy industry. Brown has also led an unprecedented push for residential solar, signing an executive order in November 2017 that mandates all new homes be designed to allow for the installation of solar panels.
Despite these initiatives, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group has rated Oregon’s renewable energy as subpar.
In a report titled Cleanwashing, How States Count Polluting Energy Sources as Renewable, the Food & Water Watch group gave Oregon a D+, a worse rating than other, more fossil fuel-friendly like Texas and Arizona, which received grades of B- and C, respectively. According to Food & Water Watch, Oregon’s terrible grade stems from their loose definition of renewables, counting numerous “dirty” fuels as clean energy. (RELATED: Portland One Step Closer To Implementing A New ‘Green Tax’)
Oregon’s government lists wood waste, mill residue, manure digesters, sewage gas and other dirty fuels as renewable energy — despite the fact that many of these sources still produce carbon emissions and release pollution into the environment.
“Those kinds of things should not be in the portfolio; it’s total greenwashing,” Patrick Woodall, stated research director at Food & Water Watch, according to The Oregonian. “The reason gas utilities promote biogas is because it gives you the patina of a more renewable approach. The reality is that these biogas sources they have all the same problems that fracked natural gas have.”
The rating comes as an ironic twist for a state that has heavily invested in solar and wind technology. While the water-rich state has already provided ratepayers with cheap and abundant hydroelectricity, Oregon’s increasing renewable energy mandates will ultimately force residents to pay billions more in higher utility costs.
“The poorest Oregonians are forking over billions and billions of dollars, that they earned, for abject failure,” said Jonathan Lockwood, a Portland-based political consultant, in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Oregonians are waking up a little bit to how Gov. Kate Brown is all PR and games. And this whole issue isn’t just about a Big Green-Big Government love affair—it’s an orgy of special interests, corrupt entities and morally and philosophically bankrupt politicians.”
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