Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires that 50 percent of the electricity Oregonians use come from renewable resources by 2040.
Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard sets a requirement for how much of the electricity we use must come from renewable resources. “Renewable” means the source of power can be used repeatedly because it is replaced naturally, like wind or the sun.
The original RPS was adopted in 2007, when just 2 percent of Oregon’s electricity needs were met with renewables. In March 2016, the passage of Oregon Senate Bill 1547 increased Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement to 50 percent renewables by 2040.
Tracking Oregon’s RPS Goals
The Oregon Department of Energy tracks Oregon’s RPS goals. We certify facilities that generate power from RPS-eligible renewable energy resources, and provide technical expertise to utilities and electricity service suppliers to help ensure we reach our RPS goals.
The Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS ) issues Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the Oregon-certified energy facilities. Utilities and electricity service suppliers purchase and then retire these RECs to demonstrate compliance with the RPS.
Renewable Energy Certificates
RECs are issued for the generation of qualifying renewable power using:
- Wind energy
- Solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy
- Wave, tidal, and ocean thermal energy
- Geothermal energy
- Certain biomass products, including woody biomass and animal manure
- Landfill gas and other biogases
- Small hydropower
- Thermal energy
Facilities receive one REC for one megawatt-hour (MWh) of qualifying renewable energy they deliver to the grid. See Oregon’s Administrative Rules for more information.
Hydropower facilities make up a large and important part of Oregon’s electricity resource mix — providing more than 40 percent of the state’s electricity. In some Oregon utility territories, hydropower provides more than 90 percent of consumers’ electricity.
Most of this hydropower — from dams built decades ago — is not eligible for credit toward the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which was created to encourage the development of new renewable electricity resources. However, the RPS can include two types of electricity from these older but still critical hydro facilities: generation attributable to efficiency upgrades made at existing hydropower facilities after 1995 is eligible, as is generation from an existing facility if it became certified as a low-impact hydroelectric facility after 1995.
Participating Utilities and Energy Suppliers
Utilities and electricity service suppliers subject to RPS requirements submit implementation plans every two years to show how they expect to comply with RPS requirements. Investor-owned utilities and suppliers also submit annual compliance reports to the Oregon Public Utility Commission . Consumer-owned utilities report compliance to their customers, boards, or members.
Utilities, electricity service suppliers, or facility owners register their renewable energy-generating facilities in WREGIS so they can be issued RECs.