Articles filed under Impact on Economy from Oregon
A bill designed to shield Oregon's renewable energy mandates from a potentially game-changing ballot measure sailed through the Senate's Business and Transportation Committee Tuesday, even as opponents called it a back-room deal hatched to benefit industry insiders and ignore average citizens. ...Irene Gilbert said the bill circumvents the opportunity for citizens negatively impacted by the renewable mandates to have a say in what is counted toward meeting them.
Over the last several years the Pacific Northwest spent about $5 billion and impacted over 50,000 acres of pristine public land for the privilege of throwing away 9 billion kWhrs of carbon-free energy every year. Just so we can meet an arbitrary state mandate, claim we’re green, and make a few folks lots of money in tax credits, the cost of which gets passed onto the rate-payers and tax-payers.
A small group of public utilities led by Umatilla Electric Cooperative asked the Legislature last year to change the definition of qualifying resources under the law to include the region’s massive supply of hydropower. Umatilla is close to going over the three percent threshold, triggering the stiffer requirements. Including hydro resources would let it off the compliance hook.
Could a small electrical cooperative in eastern Oregon up-end the state's renewable energy law? That's the question being asked as the Umatilla Electric Cooperative essentially tells legislators: Fix the renewable energy standards to satisfy our concerns or we'll put an initiative on the ballot that largely guts the law.
The developer of the mammoth wind farm, New York-based Caithness Energy, went though the legal exercise of subdividing the project on paper to qualify for three separate, $10 million state subsidies. The Energy Department approved them in the last six months, despite sufficient evidence in two of its own analyses to define the wind farm as a single facility, deserving only one tax credit.
These data centers would push the cooperative into the same RPS classification as the state's two largest investor-owned utilities. Central Electric would then have to begin compliance with the RPS well ahead of its current schedule, creating millions of dollars in additional power costs.
"Iberdrola Renewables is focusing on operations in 2012 rather than new building due to low energy prices, a poor economy and regulatory uncertainty," Johnson said, adding that the company has a "solid balance sheet, positive cash flow and no real debt."
Customers of Pacific Power will see their electric rates spike 14.5 percent in January. The increase comes in a one-two punch: an 8.4 percent general rate increase state utility regulators approved Friday, and a 6.1 percent increase for increased power costs they are expected to approve Dec. 28. Both take effect Jan. 1. ...The biggest factor driving the increases: renewable power.
BPA will also recover the costs of integrating rising amounts of wind power into the transmission grid through a separate wind integration charge paid by wind developers and purchasers. That rate will be determined through the same process of setting power rates.
Despite the existence of a voluntary program which allows renewable-resource-loving ratepayers to pay a higher cost to support renewable energy, PGE is charging all of its customers a higher rate for the added renewable energy on the grid by charging 0.22 cents per kWh, or approximately $2.13 extra per month, for an average household.
State officials deliberately underestimated the cost of Gov. Ted Kulongoski's plan to lure green energy companies to Oregon with big taxpayer subsidies, resulting in a program that cost 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told, an investigation by The Oregonian shows. Records also show that the program, a favorite of Kulongoski's known as the Business Energy Tax Credit, has given millions of dollars to failed companies while voters are being asked to raise income taxes because the state budget doesn't have enough to pay for schools and other programs.
California's push to supersize its renewable energy standards could drive electricity rates higher for Northwest consumers, strain the west's transmission and hydroelectric systems, and create a host of thorny policy issues. The California Assembly passed a pair of bills Friday to create the nation's most aggressive renewable energy mandate. It would require utilities to meet one third of their customers' needs with green energy such as wind, solar and geothermal by 2020.
Get ready for a series of major investments and associated rate increases by Portland General Electric Co. ...The Portland-based utility told financial analysts Thursday that it was pulling the plug on a near-term plan to add 218 megawatts of new wind power because of financial market conditions. The company still plans, however, to complete the ongoing expansion of its Biglow Canyon wind farm and add another 300 to 400 megawatts of wind or other renewable power to meet Oregon's renewable energy standard by 2015.
Whether the reports of health hazards are true or not is almost irrelevant. Just the fact that many people are truly concerned about the potential health effects of living near a wind farm, or the electromagnetic radiation from high voltage electrical wires, is reason enough to try to avoid buying a property that is close to power lines. It's a simple law of economics: As demand for a product goes down, so does its price. When you have a certain number of people avoiding a certain property, for whatever reason, the price of that property will be negatively affected.
A growing number of wind-energy companies are establishing themselves in downtown Portland, drawn by a rapidly expanding market for renewable power, a skilled labor pool and the city's green welcome mat. The influx of wind-energy investment and white-collar professionals is realizing the burgeoning hopes of state economic leaders who see alternative energy development as a new leg of a state economy in transition. Many firms boast international connections, ample financial resources and a nose for opportunity.
Six of Oregon’s 36 counties lost population between July 2005 and July 2006, with Sherman County losing the largest percentage — .08 percent.........County Assessor Dick Stradley says he doesn’t know for sure but guesses that the fluctuation is because of contract workers for power companies that move in temporarily to work on dams or windmills. “They come in here and we never see them,” he said. “Then in one or two months they are gone.”
Rural Columbia River Gorge counties saw plenty of dollar signs when wind farm developers began erecting turbines in their breezy, rural backyards. The investments slapped tens of millions of dollars onto sagging tax rolls and promised to revive budgets for services such as schools, health care and economic development. But the anticipated windfall has suddenly lost some of its heft. A state-level change in the way the projects are valued has worked to pull down assessments, and, in turn, has wiped out hundreds of thousands of property tax dollars that county officials had hoped to pencil into future budgets. “This is very serious for our counties and our taxing districts,” Judge Laura Pryor of Gilliam County wrote in an e-mail newsletter to rural colleagues. “What we have all thought of as an industry of benefit, may not be of much benefit. They don’t provide any jobs and now they may not provide much revenue either!”