HB 2632 Encourages solar energy production

VOTE: NO
Died in Committee

HB 2632 proposes larger scale solar projects. Larger projects is hoped to drive down costs. The Renewable Energy Credit is the minimum necessary to get a project built. It is not a complete offset of the price differential until renewable energy avoided costs kick in,

State government is spending tax payer monies to support a renewable energy that isn’t yet cost efficient.  Solar accounts for only .02% of our electricity consumption. Oregon sends approximately $12 billion out of state for fossil fuels each year. We are not producers of coal, oil or natural gas. This bill attempts to generate more renewable energy in state especially in southern counties and keep those energy dollars in our local economies. Lake County estimates generating $1,315,000 of new taxes, which is significant to a rural county.

PGE report shows that the cost of energy for larger projects is half that of smaller projects (20 vs. 39) demonstrating economy of scale.  The solar pilot program is completely funded by utility ratepayers where the programs under the Energy Trust of Oregon is funded via 3% public purpose charge applied to every taxpayer’s bill.

The bill lacks incentive at the threshold rate of 2 megawatts, which is too large for rural Oregon where electric co-ops are growing.

Cost to the state is $83 million over 11 year of the program, or $7.5 million per year.  The program is designed to sell to the state to meet its own renewable energy goals, or the state could make the renewable energy credits available for resale to help companies meet other carbon obligations.

EFFECT OF COMMITTEE AMENDMENT:

Authorizes program participant to receive funds from public purpose charge for above-market costs of constructing and operating new renewable energy resources with nominal generating capacity if participant receives funds pursuant to agreement entered into before effective date of Act.