Monday, April 27, 2009

Oregon's Power Potential (8/8) Renewable Future

Renewable Energy, Build it Here, Use it Here

Renewable energy opportunities are shining (and raining) down on Oregon and Oregon is not letting them blow by. Oregon has a unique abundance of renewable energy resources. Areas around the Columbia Gorge and in northeastern and southeastern Oregon have excellent wind energy potential. The Oregon Coast has some of the best wave energy sites in the world. Much of eastern Oregon has high potential for geothermal energy. And even the rainiest parts of our state get more sun than Germany, a world leader in solar power. Oregon has made a commitment to renewable energy and there are plenty of opportunities for growth.

As the saying goes "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste." In response to today's economic crisis, Oregon can extend its renewable energy position, improving our local economy, our national security, and our environment.

There are many state programs that encourage renewable energy development, including:
  • Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) This tax credit is often called “Betsy” for its acronym of BETC, is awarded for 35 to 50 percent of the total cost, depending on the project, for the first $22 million
  • The Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), which provides cash incentives to homeowners, farms, ranches, businesses and government entities install wind, solar and efficiency projects
  • The Small Energy Loan Program (SELP), which promotes energy conservation and renewable energy resource development by offering low-interest loans for qualifying projects
  • Solar Incentives
Oregon also boasts a high-tech work force with expertise in silicon, the essential ingredient to turn sunlight into electricity. Millions of taxpayer dollars are available to subsidize solar companies. Oregon's Governor expects this to create thousands of jobs in the coming years. So far, the state has snagged photovoltaic giant SolarWorld, which unveiled the nation's largest solar plant, in Hillsboro, and other brands, including Sanyo and Solaicx.

Oregon's Renewable Future
Clearly wind power is here now and will be expanding rapidly to meet the 2025 target of 25% renewable energy. Wave and geothermal have great promise. Solar too has great potential and can be used in distributed micro-generation PV as well as large scale solar thermal.

Imagine what could be possible by 2025: the wind power all along the North of the state following the Gorge; Wind and wave along the coastline; Solar is scattered across most rooftops with power being generated right where it is used; Geothermal and solar thermal plants east of the Cascades generating power that can be transferred to where ever it is needed or sold to ever-hungry California when there is surplus. Oregon currently has the political will to make this a reality.

Cheap, Abundant, and Clean. It is Possible.

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