SALEM, Ore. — A compromise working its way through the Oregon Legislature could end a long-standing fight over renewable energy mandates, which is set to come to a head at the ballot box in November.
Oregon requires large utilities to get 25 percent of their energy from new renewable sources by 2025. Smaller utilities must reach lower targets.
A recent influx of power-hungry data centers is pushing smaller Eastern Oregon utilities closer to large-utility status. Faced with the prospect of complying with the tougher standards, a lobbyist for the Umatilla Electric Cooperative has been collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would allow Umatilla and other consumer-owned utilities to get around the mandates.
Proponents of the mandate say the ballot measure would undermine the effort to spur investment in renewables.
The compromise would still require the affected utilities to eventually meet the 25 percent target, but they’ll have more flexibility about how to get there. It was approved unanimously in the House this past week and goes before a Senate committee on Thursday.