After a vigorous debate, the Oregon Senate passed a bill Tuesday to require the state’s largest utilities eventually to draw 25 percent of their power from renewable sources like wind, waves, sunlight and manure.
Supporters argued the bill was a necessary step toward reducing global warming and protecting Oregonians from a volatile fossil fuel market.
Opponents said they were concerned that setting quotas would increase the cost to consumers.
The bill would require Oregon’s major utilities to obtain 5 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2011, increasing by increments to 25 percent by 2025.
The two largest utilities, Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp, support the bill. Opposition comes from the Industrial Customers Northwest Utilities, which represents users such as Weyerhaeuser, Hewlett-Packard and Oregon Steel Mills.
The bill would put Oregon alongside Minnesota, which has a similar law, and California, which recently raised its renewable percentage to 33 percent by 2025. Twenty other states require utilities to draw a significant percentage of their electricity from renewable resources.
By Aaron Clark
10 April 2007
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