Oregon Gov. Brown asserts leadership in transition to clean energy

NW Energy Coalition congratulates Governor Brown on Energy Efficiency and Transportation Electrification executive orders

The NW Energy Coalition congratulates Governor Kate Brown for issuing two executive orders that will accelerate improvements in energy and water efficiency and in the adoption of electric vehicles in Oregon.

As a precursor to her attendance at the International Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, Governor Brown’s two executive orders – one focused on energy efficiency in buildings and homes and the other on transportation electrification — affirm Oregon’s status as a leader in emissions reduction and the fight against climate change. They also include important commitments to ensure the benefits of the transition to clean energy, which include economic growth, jobs growth, and cleaner air and water, are enjoyed by all Oregonians, including those who live in rural areas and low-income communities.

Citing the threats posed by climate change to Oregon’s agricultural, fishing, timber, and recreation industries as well as health-related and environmental costs, the Governor’s executive order on building standards and practices adopts a much-needed, multi-faceted approach that engages state and local government as well as private industry in accelerating the achievement of net zero energy ready buildings as a standard practice throughout Oregon.

Key provisions include:

·     All state-owned buildings constructed after 2021 will be carbon-neutral and the state will establish aggressive targets to improve the efficiency of existing buildings.
·     Commitments to strong building code revisions for residential and commercial buildings that put Oregon firmly on the path to its net zero energy construction goals.
·     Improved appliance standards that will help reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.
·     A plan to achieve maximum energy savings in affordable housing, including manufactured homes and multi-family housing.

·     The development of energy efficiency programs to encourage energy savings in existing homes and buildings that fall below the building code.

Wendy Gerlitz, policy director at the NW Energy Coalition emphasized that, “In addition to the environmental benefits, the measures included in the Governor’s energy efficiency order will save people money on their utility bills, spur new business and investment in energy efficiency, and create jobs as well as making homes and workplaces healthier, safer, and more comfortable.”

The Governor’s transportation electrification executive order is similarly multi-faceted and establishes a statewide goal of registering more than 50,000 operating electric vehicles by 2020. This will be accomplished by a series of measures to reduce cost and infrastructure barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles by state and local governments, businesses, and consumers.

The executive order will:

·     Greatly increase the use of electric vehicles by state agencies.
·     Incent the state, public agencies, and utilities — both consumer-owned and investor-owned — to greatly increase the number and availability of electric vehicle charging stations.
·     Make sure that low- and middle-income and rural communities fully participate in the expansion of infrastructure.
·     Provide assistance to school districts and transit agencies in increase zero-emission vehicles in their fleets.

·     Establish Governor’s Awards for dealerships, organizations, and businesses that achieve high levels of electric vehicle adoption.

Together, the energy efficiency and transportation electrification orders will help Oregon fulfill a number of previously adopted policy goals including its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 75% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Michael Breish, a policy associate at the NW Energy Coalition observed that, “As a region the Northwest is pioneering the use of policy to accelerate the transition to a cleaner economy in a manner that shares the benefits among all sectors of society while also driving growth in jobs and commerce. The Governor’s executive orders are another important step in that direction.”