Even as voters decide this year’s ballot measures, initiative activists are already preparing for 2014. One new measure filed in Oregon would allow more power from hydroelectric dams to be part of the state’s renewable energy requirements.
The state of Oregon requires that a certain amount of energy come from renewable sources. Hydroelectric power accounts for almost half the energy in the Northwest, and is considered a renewable source.
But older hydro facilities don’t count towards meeting renewable energy requirements. The aim is to spur production of newer technologies like solar and wind.
Utility companies want to change that. They say the policy is too expensive. Chief initiative petitioner Paul Cosgrove hopes the ballot measure will spur state lawmakers to act.
“We’re hopeful for a resolution that makes sense, that recognizes that all forms of renewable power should be treated as such and given credit as such,” he says.
But environmental groups oppose Cosgrove’s initiative. The state director for Environment Oregon says that the current standard has been a critical driver for the state’s large investment in better renewables.
Washington’s standards similarly exclude older hydro dams, and several attempts to change that have failed.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network