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Exec. Summary

Energy Numbers

Climate Change

Renewable Energy




Energy Efficiency



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Energy By the Numbers 

Oregon’s 2016 Energy Consumption

Transportation Fuels: 38%

Includes personal, passenger, and commercial vehicles, both on and off the roads, plus airplanes, boats, barges, ships, and trains. Nearly all transportation-related sources of energy are imported from out of state for in-state use.

Electricity: 35%

This is where most people begin when thinking about energy—the critical resource that powers our day-to-day lives. The electricity Oregonians use comes from facilities across the western United States and in Oregon. This percentage also accounts for source fuels that come from out of state, such as natural gas, but generate electricity in-state.

Direct Use Fuels: 27%

Includes fuel oil and natural gas used to heat homes and commercial spaces, fuels used for other residential purposes, such as gas stoves, solar thermal heating, and fuels used directly in industrial processes.



53.5% Gasoline
26.6% Diesel
8.6% Jet Fuel
4.4% Ethanol
3.9% Asphalt, Road Oil
1.8% Biodiesel
.60% Lubricants
.15% Aviation Gas
.12% Renewable Diesel



41.1% Hydropower
28.4% Coal
18.5% Natural Gas
7.1% Wind
3.4% Nuclear
.54% Solar
.33% Biomass
.16% Biogas
.12% Geothermal


Direct Use

61.4% Natural Gas
26.7% Biomass
9% Heating Oil
2.8% Hydrocarbon Gas Liquids Including Propane


Between 2000 and 2016:

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Oregon Population

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Oregon Energy Use




Oregon consumes more than 48 million megawatt hours of electricity each year. Oregon’s Renewable portfolio standard requires that half of the electricity sold to Oregonians by the state’s largest utilities must come from renewable resources by 2040.


Based on a three-year average (2014-2016), this chart shows the energy resources used to generate the electricity that is sold to Oregon’s utility customers.

Renewable electricity in Oregon has grown due to customer demand, dramatic decreases in costs, and policies like the Renewable Portfolio Standard.



Percent increase in wind energy consumed in Oregon between 2004 and 2016



Megawatt hours of solar photovoltaic added to Oregon’s electricity mix between 2015 and 2016


Hydropower and the RPS

Hydropower makes up a large and important part of Oregon’s electricity resource mix—providing more than 40 percent of the state’s electricity. In some Oregon utility territories, hydropower provides more than 90 percent of consumers’ electricity.

Most of this hydropower—from dams built decades ago—is not eligible for credit toward the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which was created to encourage the development of new renewable electricity resources. However, the RPS can include two types of electricity from these older but still critical hydro facilities: generation attributable to efficiency upgrades made at existing hydropower facilities after 1995 is eligible, as is generation from an existing facility if it became certified as a low-impact hydroelectric facility after 1995.

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Energy efficiency plays a critical role in Oregon as the second largest resource after hydropower.

In 2018, Oregon scored in the top ten states for energy efficiency in national rankings — the twelfth year in a row!


23.5 million

Tons of carbon emissions reduced per year in the region due to energy efficiency


$182 million

Amount utilities, governments, and nonprofit programs invested in Oregon energy efficiency in 2017


$4 billion

Amount saved by Pacific Northwest residents due to lower electricity bills in 2015


$12.7 million

Amount Oregon spent in 2017 on energy efficiency programs targeting low-income households

Where Does Our Electricity Come From?

Electricity used by Oregonians can come from facilities across the western United States. We rely on hydroelectric power produced on the Columbia River, access small amounts of nuclear power from the Columbia Generating Station in Washington, and use electricity generated at coal-powered facilities.

This map shows the various electricity generation sources of one megawatt or greater in the Western Electric Coordinating Council.

Not all of the resources or facilities shown contribute to Oregon’s overall fuel mix but are available when a utility purchases power on the open market. In the same way, electricity generated in Oregon may be sold through the market to support electricity needs in other states.

How Electricity Gets to Us

Electricity travels from generating facilities to customers over an interconnected network of transmission and distribution wires and substations, which connect the higher-voltage transmission system with the lower-voltage distribution network.

Collectively, this interconnected network of transmission and distribution wires and substations is referred to as “the electric grid,” or simply “the grid.” Unlike the networks designed to deliver other types of energy—like liquid fuels or natural gas—the electric grid has been designed to simultaneously deliver enough electricity from generators to meet the highest consumer demands on the system.

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Energy Production in Oregon

Oregon ranks 33rd in the country for energy production—and seventh in the country for total renewable energy production.


The map below shows more than 16,000 sites, including residential rooftops, where energy is being produced across the state.

Oregon Energy Production Resources



  • 8,865 MW of capacity

  • 88 hydropower facilities — 80 in Oregon, 8 crossing state borders

  • Smallest: .04 MW

  • Largest: 2,160 MW

  • 12 facilities over 100 MW

  • Third highest installed capacity of hydropower in the U.S.

Natural Gas

  • More than 4,066 MW of capacity

  • 20 facilities produce electricity

  • 45% of state’s capacity comes from 3 facilities larger than 500 MW

  • 3 state universities use on-site natural gas to generate their own power

  • Oldest facility came on line in 1950, newest in 2016



  • 3,383 MW of capacity

  • 44 operating facilities, 1 spans Oregon and Washington state line

  • 2,147 MW of additional capacity proposed, approved, or under review

  • Sites range from 1.6 to 300 MW

  • 13 largest facilities make up 69% of total capacity

  • 15 facilities, representing 590 MW, came online in 2009



  • 601 MW of capacity

  • 1 operating facility

  • State authorization issued in 1975

  • Boardman facility due to cease coal operations by December 31, 2020



  • 296 MW of capacity for projects 1 MW or larger

  • More than 15,000 residential solar projects

  • Median number of residential solar projects by county: 114

  • First facility greater than 75 MW approved in 2018

  • 685 MW of capacity proposed, approved, or under review

Wood and Other Biomass

  • 331 MW of capacity

  • 36 operating facilities

  • Facility capacity ranges from .2 MW to 51.5 MW

  • Facilities are in 16 Oregon counties

  • Oldest came online in 1936, newest in 2015


Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas

  • 51.1 MW of capacity

  • 25 operating facilities

  • 10-20% of state’s total yearly use of natural gas could be replaced by RNG if potential is realized



  • 33 MW of capacity

  • 99 MW of planned capacity

  • 3 facilities; the largest is 28.5 MW

  • Also used as a direct use fuel for heating


Energy Storage

  • 10 MW of capacity

  • 2 facilities with approximately 5 MW of capacity each

  • Another 150 MW currently approved or under review

  • Technology types include pumped storage and battery storage

Marine Energy

  • Emerging technology

  • 2 test sites: 1 operating and 1 under development

  • Excellent resource potential off of Oregon coast

Oregon Energy Consumption

Energy is commonly divided into four end use sectors: residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation.

Consumption for residential, commercial, and transportation sectors has remained fairly steady in recent years. The industrial sector saw consumption decrease in Oregon around 1999, after the closure of Oregon aluminum smelters and an overall shift to less energy-intensive industries.


Nearly 50 percent of Oregon homes use electricity for heating. Natural gas is also a popular heating fuel, especially in newer single-family homes. Oregon has seen an 8.8% decrease in residential energy use since 2000.

Heating and cooling uses the most energy in Oregon homes. The state ranks 8th nationally for lowest per capita residential energy use.

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6,600 Portland homes have been scored through Oregon’s Home Energy Score program, which evaluates home performance and energy savings.


97 percent of Oregon commercial buildings use electricity or natural gas for heating. Energy from all sources is used for HVAC, lighting, computing, cooking, refrigeration, lighting, or other commercial needs.

Energy Use Intensity by Commercial Building Type

Energy Performance is measured by comparing a building’s annual energy use to its size, and depends on a building’s construction, equipment efficiency, operation, and location. In commercial buildings, floor space, the type of building, and its activities drive energy use.


Facilities and equipment used for producing and processing goods and services, including agriculture, manufacturing, forestry, mining, and construction.

The industrial sector uses electricity and fuels in a number of ways:


The transportation sector encompasses the movement of goods, services, and people — including passenger and commercial vehicles, trains, aircraft, boats, barges, and ships. Energy, mostly in the form of petroleum products, is used directly for transportation vehicles and to fuel equipment.

greenhouse gas emissions

The chart above shows total and per passenger vehicle GHG emissions. While overall on-road fuel consumption and emissions are on the rise in Oregon, per vehicle consumption and emissions are dropping.

electric vehicles

The chart above shows cumulative total electric vehicle registrations in Oregon — we’ve seen a 25% year-over-year increase since 2010. As of June 30, 2018, Oregon had 18,901 registered electric vehicles.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Transportation and electricity use account for about 65% of Oregon’s GHG emissions. The share of transportation emissions has grown as a share of Oregon’s total emissions compared to emissions from electricity use. Transportation increased from 35% in 2014 to 39% in 2016. Other sectors have remained fairly constant.



Target year for Oregon to reduce GHG emissions by 75 percent below 1990 levels.



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Energy Costs and Expenditures

Oregon spent $11.7 billion on energy in 2016 – the lowest amount since 2005. This includes electricity and fuel for homes and businesses, industrial energy uses, and petroleum used in the transportation sector.

expenditures & consumption

The graph above shows Oregon’s total energy expenditures compared to total energy consumption. Oregon’s 2016 per capita energy expenditure was $2,885 per person – one of the lowest states in the U.S.

expenditures by sector

The graph above shows energy expenditures by sector in 2016. While the transportation sector represents 31% of energy consumption, it accounts for almost half of expenditures due to the much higher per unit cost of transportation fuels. Because nearly all our transportation fuel is imported, most of this money goes out of state



Percentage of median household income Oregonians spent on energy in 2016



Percentage of median household income Oregonians spent on transportation fuel in 2017

Energy Bill Basics

Meters measure how much energy is consumed. Some utilities are making the switch to digital “smart meters,” which help track when energy is used, in addition to how much.

A minimum cost of service — the basic charge — covers the utility provider’s costs like maintenance and customer support.

Utilities charge by how much energy is used, measured in kilowatt hours for electricity.

Most utilities offer programs for customers who want to use renewable energy. In this sample bill, the customer is enrolled in PGE’s Green Source program. Oregon has the country’s highest participation rates in voluntary green energy programs.

Making sure there’s electricity available to power Oregonians’ lives regardless of seasonal or daily variations in power outputs or customer demand is the core challenge of the electric utility industry.

Electric utilities closely watch and manage the timing of consumer demand for electricity, from minute to minute and hour to hour.

One strategy used by utilities to better align demand with the availability of supply is demand response. Demand response is a deliberate change in a customer’s normal electricity usage pattern in response to a change in price, contract, or request from a utility or grid operator.


Oregon Utilities

Oregon is served by investor-owned and consumer-owned utilities and by energy service suppliers. The state is also served by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a federal agency that markets electric power from 31 dams in the Pacific Northwest and the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant in Washington. BPA also owns and operates 75 percent of the high-voltage transmission system in the Northwest.

Utilities comply with federal, regional, and state regulations.

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The country’s first long-distance transmission of high-voltage electricity took place in Oregon in June 1889.

The transmission ran 13 miles between Oregon City and Chapman Square in downtown Portland.

Recent and Upcoming Oregon Energy Milestones



Oregon enacts Renewable Portfolio Standard, sets statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets



Oregon Clean Fuels Program first initiated


Oregon Global Warming Commission launched Roadmap to 2020 project



Clean Fuels Program initial reporting begins; Oregon Renewable Energy Development Grant program passed


Sunset of Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program



Legislature passes Solar Development Incentive and second energy storage bill in the nation

Plan for removing coal from energy mix developed, RPS increased, and community solar added


Governor’s Executive Order 17-21 sets goal of 50,000 electric vehicles by 2020

SB 978 sets process to look at electricity regulation and utility business model



New residential energy code goes into effect


Legislature expected to take up proposed cap-and-invest legislation



Oregon’s only coal plant scheduled to cease coal operations


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Climate Change



  • Oregon is meeting more of its growing population’s energy needs with low-carbon resources. However, the state is not yet on a pathway to fully transition its energy system to a deeply decarbonized, clean energy future.

  • Oregon’s current greenhouse gas emissions trajectory is far above its “fair share” contribution to a global limit of two degree Celsius temperature rise.

  • We have an opportunity to capitalize on advancements and falling costs of low-carbon technologies, as well as how energy is made and used in the state.

  • Early action would allow Oregon to gain a first-move competitive advantage in a global clean energy economy.


Oregon’s projected GHG Emissions vs. Goals


Renewable Energy



  • Installed capacity and consumption of renewable electricity in Oregon have grown over the years.

  • Oregon needs to understand and address a number of interrelated issues to meet our state energy goals.

  • The state should investigate how to take advantage of flexible electricity resources and technologies, demand response programs, flexible markets, and more.


cost reductions in major clean energy technologies


Cumulative Total of Online, Contracted, and Proposed Utility-Scale Solar Capacity Reported by PGE, PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power




  • The transportation sector is the single largest category of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon (39%)

  • Per vehicle fuel consumption and GHG emissions are declining thanks to improved fuel efficiency and the adoption of alternative fuels, but overall sector consumption, emissions, and vehicle miles traveled are increasing.

  • Oregon will need to adopt additional policies, strategies, and programs to meet the state’s climate change goals.


Historic GHG emissions and potential future reductions


Oregon DEQ Clean Vehicle Rebate Program


Standard Rebate


Charge Ahead Rebate


Who Qualifies?


All Oregonians


Low- or moderate-income households. DEQ has not finalized qualification levels for the Charge Ahead Rebate. More info.


Vehicle Type


Purchase or lease of new BEV or PHEV


Purchase or lease of new or used BEV or PHEV


Rebate Amount

  • $2,500 for EVs with battery capacity of 10 kWh or higher

  • $1,500 for EVs with battery capacity of less than 10 kWh

  • $2,500 for new or used BEV


Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must maintain vehicle registration in Oregon for at least two years

  • Manufacturer’s suggested retail price cannot exceed $50,000

  • Applicant must submit Phase I Application within six months of the date or purchase or lease

  • Must be purchased or leased from a licensed dealer



Same as standard




  • An increased awareness in threats like a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, climate change, and others is creating new interest in community energy resilience solutions

  • Oregon can take advantage of technology advancements to make systematic improvements, such as supporting the development of microgrids

  • The state has an opportunity to engage communities in funding and deploying community energy resilience and climate adaptation solutions


Cascadia Subduction Zone

The CSZ is an active seismic fault that parallels the Northwest coast about 100 miles offshore. When — not if — the CSZ ruptures, Oregonians are likely to be faced with devastating impacts resulting from a 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. In addition, the state will experience power outages and disruptions in liquid fuel supply across much of the state that will likely be measured in weeks and months rather than in hours. These energy disruptions have the potential to cripple the response of public agencies and communities to this disaster. Oregon communities and organizations are starting to take action to be better prepared for an emergency like this.


central lincoln pud prepares for the worst

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Central Lincoln People’s Utility District is one of the state’s 36 consumer-owned utilities; its service territory stretches over 100 miles of central Oregon coastline. Given risks to its service territory, in 2017 the utility completed construction of a new Northern Operations Center in Newport. The previous operations center was in an area of Newport at lower elevation and within the tsunami zone (i.e., the area expected by geologists to be affected by a tsunami following a major rupture of the CSZ fault). The new Operations Center has been built at higher elevation, outside of the tsunami zone, and constructed to seismic standards designed to withstand the ground forces from a CSZ earthquake.


Energy Efficiency

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  • Oregon is a national leader in electric and natural gas efficiency programs

  • Energy efficiency is the second largest electricity resource after hydropower, and in most cases efficiency costs less than wind, solar, coal, nuclear, and natural gas generation

  • Efficiency is the priority resource to meet future load growth


electricity resources in the region, including efficiency



Oregon has ranked among the top ten most energy-efficient states in the country for the last 12 years, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

In 2018, Oregon was ranked seventh.


Save Energy

We often talk about energy efficiency and weatherization with a broad perspective – describing various program requirements or cumulative statewide energy savings. But it’s worth remembering that these programs make meaningful improvements to people’s lives, where families save energy and money, have an easier time paying their energy bills, improve the value of their homes, and are more comfortable. 

Case studies from Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District illustrate the power of these real-life benefits.


Home Energy Scores

A home energy score is based on a standard assessment of energy-related assets to compare energy use across the housing market. In 2010, Oregon was the first state to develop administrative rules that specify how home energy scores can be created and deployed across the state. Though scoring is not mandatory statewide, the administrative rules guide local efforts and keep the market consistent when scoring entities want to operate in Oregon.


Protecting Consumers



  • Oregon continues to see challenges faced by energy-burdened consumers, and interest in securing more equitable outcomes in energy-related policies and programs

  • An Oregonian is considered “energy burdened” when their household’s energy-related expenditures exceed six percent of their household income. Energy burden can also include transportation fuels or other energy-related expenses

  • The state needs a better understanding of the distribution of benefits and burdens of electricity, heating, and transportation programs and costs.


Percentage of Oregon Households Considered energy burdened and earning 200 percent or below federal poverty level (by county)




Conclusions and Letter from the Director

When it comes to energy and climate leadership, Oregon punches above our weight. We’ve developed home-grown renewable energy resources and are moving the state beyond coal-fired electricity. We’ve invested in energy efficiency that delivers countless returns — from avoiding the need for new power plants to more comfortable and efficient homes. We’re leaders on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting adoption of electric vehicles, and encouraging energy innovations and emerging technologies.
This report recognizes that all Oregonians can and should benefit from a clean energy future. A key focus of the Biennial Energy Report is to inform local, state, regional, and federal energy and climate policy development. As the energy sector works to decarbonize and modernize, we must understand how all consumers – especially those often left behind, including communities of color, low-income families, older adults, and others – can benefit from the transition to a low-carbon economy.


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