Monday, April 20, 2009

Oregon's Power Potential (1/8)

Looking at Oregon in the context of energy, you'll see that the state is missing a few things. It does not have coal mines, natural gas, or oil. For Oregon to produce power based on these fossil fuels, they must be brought into the state. Given this lack of fossil resources, it may not be too surprising to learn that Oregon is the third largest renewable energy producing state in the U.S. California and Texas (surprise) hold the #1 and #2 spots.

Hydroelectric power is Oregon's predominant source of electricity, accounting for about 70% of the yearly total (according to energy.gov). About 42% of standard residential power comes from hydro. The majority of the balance comes from Coal and Natural Gas. Oregon has a growing wind and other renewable projects.

The image to the right shows many of the proposed and operational renewable energy projects. You can see that wind power projects along the Columbia Gorge outnumber other projects.

In 2007 the Oregon legislature passed the Renewable Energy Act (SB 838). This law requires that by 2025, the state's major utilities harvest at least 25% of their (non-hydro) energy from renewable sources.

Where are these renewable electrons going to come from? We'll look at what potential the state has for solar, wind, wave, and (don't forget) geothermal. You can expect to see many more entries on the image above to get to 25% renewable.


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