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Supporting Cap and Invest in Oregon: Advocating for a clean energy future for customers and the environment

We’re helping Oregon achieve a clean energy future by investing in clean and renewable energy, building a smart and resilient grid, and supporting policies that help address the climate emergency. As the largest electricity supplier in the state serving almost half of Oregon’s population, we are pleased to support Cap and Invest legislation (also known as cap and trade) because it provides for a cost-effective transition to a clean electricity system while keeping the system affordable and reliable.

Cap and Invest in Oregon

The Oregon legislature is considering Cap and Invest legislation in the 2020 session that would put a price on economywide greenhouse gas emissions — something we believe is essential to meeting Oregon’s climate goals. PGE is part of a broad coalition that supports this well-designed Cap and Invest legislation because it:

  • Supports cost-effective decarbonization of our electric system
  • Has strong consumer protections ensuring that PGE customers are not paying more than necessary to decarbonize the system
  • Provides us with a carbon price signal that will aid short- and long-term decision making
  • Enables the Oregon Public Utility Commission to consider greenhouse gas emission reduction when making decisions
  • Works with the state’s existing climate mandates, like transitioning to renewable power and eliminating coal power from our mix
  • Promotes greenhouse gas emission reductions across the economy, including transportation, which is Oregon’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Includes strong accountability and oversight
  • Provides transitional assistance for many sectors of Oregon’s economy

Cap and Invest proposals are designed to protect PGE customers from unnecessary rate increases

While the cap on emissions and the price signal created by this market-based program are very helpful for our decision making, the program design must also protect our customers from unnecessary cost impacts – which has been our top priority. The Cap and Invest proposals being considered in 2020 provide strong consumer protections to ensure electric utility customers don’t pay more than necessary for emission reductions to our system by directly allocating compliance allowances — that decline over time — to PGE on behalf of customers. The Oregon Public Utility Commission is charged with oversight of the utility consumer protection provisions, providing independent review to ensure customer benefit.

Why is this important? PGE is investing billions of dollars in clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency and green technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support a clean, reliable and affordable energy future. The 2 million people and 100,000+ businesses PGE serves are already paying for these investments in the rates they pay, so it is unnecessary and unfair to make them pay for paper compliance with the program when our emissions are below our proportionate share of the state’s emissions. Doing so would essentially make them pay twice for GHG reductions on our system — once for investments, and again for paper compliance.

Unnecessary rate increase would also make it more expensive for Oregon’s families, businesses, schools and transit agencies to switch to electric vehicles powered by increasingly clean electricity. The switch to EVs is essential to driving down greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector – the largest (and growing) source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon.

How we’ve been supporting a clean energy future

For more than a decade, we’ve supported local, state and federal policies that keep Oregon on the path to a clean and affordable energy future. Cap and Invest is the next step to help drive Oregon toward its clean energy goals.

We:

Learn more about how we’re approaching a clean energy future.