Oregon renewable energy and energy efficiency

Oregon offers various programs and incentives dealing with renewable energy and energy efficiency, encompassing multiple technology types. Programs are available for residential, commercial, and utility-scale energy customers and producers. These programs include energy efficiency incentives for applications such as appliances, lighting, and HVAC. The renewable energy programs cover various renewable technologies including biomass, solar, geothermal, wind, and hydropower. The Oregon legislature updated its renewable portfolio standard in March 2016 to raise the future renewable energy targets.

There are many organizations in Oregon that promote and offer assistance on topics relating to clean energy incentives, policy, and regulation. Oregon's current electricity mix is dominated by hydro power, which provides more than 40% of the state's electricity.1 Coal, natural gas, and non-hydro renewables also make up a portion of the state's electricity mix. Only about 35% of Oregon's 2016 energy consumption was for electricity, with the majority of Oregon's energy consumption being attributed to transportation.

A history of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Oregon

Oregon's state government has been assisting local, regional, and state public agencies with reducing energy use and meeting energy efficiency goals since the creation of the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) in 1975.2 ODOE has helped numerous Oregonians create more efficient homes through heating and cooling upgrades, weatherization upgrades such as duct sealing, and installation of more efficient household equipment and appliances. The Department assists a wide variety of entities, including local, regional, and state public agencies and schools with reducing their energy use. ODOE offers technical assistance and financial programs to help support businesses, farmers, nonprofits, and tribes in their pursuit of energy conservation through green projects. ODOE developed its first Sustainability Plan in 2003 with a focus on energy efficiency and conservation, recycling, and reducing water use. ODOE became the first Oregon agency to earn EarthWISE certification in 2008 and has recently been recertified in 2019 by the EarthWISE program through 2022.

Oregon's Renewable Portfolio Standard

Oregon's Renewable Portfolio Standard was adopted in 2007, when only 2% of the state's electricity needs were met with non-hydro renewables3. In March 2016, Oregon Senate Bill 1547 increased the Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements to the following specifications:

Fifty percent of electricity sold by an electric company to retail electric customers must qualify as renewable by 2040. Smaller utilities making up less than three percent of all electricity sold to retail electricity consumers are held to a lower standard: there is a 2025 target of five percent of the electricity sold by them qualifying as renewable. Electricity qualifies as renewable if it meets the criteria set in the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Various biofuel products may also be used to comply with a Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Oregon Department of Energy tracks Oregon's RPS goals through the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System and certifies facilities are generating power from RPS-eligible renewable energy sources. Utilities and electricity service suppliers submit implementation plans every two years showing how they plan to comply with the Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements. Investor-owned utilities and suppliers must also submit an annual compliance report to the Oregon Public Utility Commission, while consumer-owned utilities submit compliance reports to their customers, boards, or members.

Important renewable energy organizations in Oregon

An important organization furthering Oregon clean energy is the Energy Trust of Oregon. Energy Trust of Oregon began operation in 2002 and invested in cost-effective energy efficiency and helped to pay the above-market costs of renewable energy resources. The organization provides energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to customers across Oregon and Southwest Washington. Energy Trust is funded through a small percentage of customer utility bills from various utilities in Oregon and Washington. In 1999, legislation was passed that required Portland General Electric and Pacific Power to collect a 3% “public purpose charge” from customers which would go on to fund Energy Trust's energy efficiency and renewable energy services. Additional legislation was passed in 2007 allowing PGE and Pacific Power to capture additional cost-effective energy conservation above what was possible through the 3% public purpose charge.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) regulates various investor-owned utilities to ensure that utility customers have access to high quality services at reasonable prices.4 The OPUC also promotes new and innovative energy and telecommunications technologies that benefit consumers through influencing federal laws and policies. It ensures safe and reliable utility infrastructure such as pipelines and power lines to provide Oregon consumers with optimal service. The OPUC is evaluated based on key performance measures as well as biannual integrated resource planning reviews.

How to go solar in Oregon

You can install solar panels on your property and benefit directly from solar energy in Oregon. The best way to go solar is to compare multiple quotes - you can join the EnergySage Marketplace for free to begin comparing your options from installation companies near you. Want to start with a little more research? Check out average prices for solar in Oregon, or read through reviews of the best local solar installers in Oregon.


  1. Oregon Department of Energy. “Electricity Mix in Oregon.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. Oregon Department of Energy. “About Us.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  3. Oregon Department of Energy. “Renewable Portfolio Standard.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  4. Oregon Public Utility Commission. Accessed October 28, 2020.

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