Kitzhaber unveils energy plan
10-year strategy includes more clean energy, conservation
By MITCH LIES
Gov. John Kitzhaber has released his long-awaited 10-year energy plan that could shape public policy in Oregon.
The plan, developed over several months by a work group, outlines strategies to boost the state's economy by creating opportunities for investment in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects that help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
"We have a tremendous opportunity to build a more competitive and resilient economy while improving the health of the environment," Kitzhaber said in a prepared statement.
Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby, said Dec. 19 that he can support some provisions of the plan, but that the plan falls short of protecting Oregon ratepayers from cost increases.
"Oregon's ratepayers and the economic future must be a stronger priority," Olsen said.
Katie Fast, government affairs director for the Oregon Farm Bureau, said her organization has similar concerns regarding the potential for the plan to increase energy costs.
"We're still trying to gauge if there is a good balance in the document," Fast said Dec. 19.
As with most renewable energy programs, some farms will likely benefit from the plan, Fast said. "But if there is an overall increase in the cost of energy, that impacts every farm," she said.
Kitzhaber's plan presents three core strategies, including:
* Meeting 100 percent of new electric-load growth through energy efficiency and conservation.
* Enhancing clean energy infrastructure development by removing financial and regulatory barriers to attract new investment and pursue new technologies.
* Accelerating the market transition to a more efficient, lower-cost and cleaner transportation system.