RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Tuesday released a draft plan to increase renewable energy in the state. Both Washington and Idaho already have energy plans in place.
Oregon’s energy plan will focus on three main goals:
Increasing energy efficiency and conservation;
Removing red tape for renewable energy facilities;
Using less fuel to transport people and goods.
Margi Hoffmann is the governor’s energy policy advisor. She says some parts of the 10-year plan can be put in place now, while others will need legislative approval.
“We want to do what we can today, today,” Hoffmann says. “But we also need to create a regulatory environment that allows us to meet these energy goals over the course of the next decade.”
The plan would cover the entire increase in energy use over the next 10 years by improving energy efficiency. To help reach the goal, the state would retrofit up to 4 million square feet of state office buildings with energy efficient technology.
The plan also calls for upgrading the power grid and making it easier for clean-energy developers to get financial backing and permits for new projects. In an earlier speech, Gov. Kitzhaber cited several reasons to draft an energy plan for the state.
“So the goal for Oregon in developing this plan is very, very clear,” Kitzhaber said. “We want to prioritize and act on a number of initiatives: to reduce our dependence on carbon-intensive fuels and foreign oil, to develop home-grown renewable energy resources, to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, to improve energy efficiency and job creation, to boost Oregon’s economy through investment and innovation, and finally to ensure a continued supply of affordable, reliable energy to Oregon’s homes and Oregon’s businesses.”
Oregon’s plan comes just months after both Washington and Idaho put energy plans in place. Idaho’s energy plan focuses mainly on creating jobs and keeping energy costs low. Washington’s strategy calls for buildings that require less heating and cooling and a more diverse energy portfolio.
Renewable energy experts say it’s important for states to follow an energy plan. Ann Gravatt works with Climate Solutions, a climate change advocacy group.
“What I like about Gov. Kitzhaber’s plan is it has the word ‘action’ in it,” Gravatt says. “It’s a 10-Year Energy Action Plan. Because I think the implementation of the plan is obviously key.”
Oregonians will have 60 days to comment on the plan.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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