Oregon is the first US state to pass a law that would phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030. The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill will need to be signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown to become a law. The law will also redirect the state towards increasing the amount of renewable energy in the state by 2040.
The law passed on Thursday would require Oregon’s two largest investor-owned utilities, the PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric, to slowly withdraw from coal-fired power and double its renewable energy by 2040. Brown’s signature would render the state to be the first in US to lawfully end ties with carbon emissions that come from the coal-fired plants.
The OPB reported that though the move was celebrated by environmental groups, the critics argued that it will increase the bill amount without effectively reducing the greenhouse gas emission.
“You don’t have to be a climate denier to dislike this bill,” state senator Ted Ferrioli said.
“This historic step forward is the most significant legislative action the US has taken since the Paris climate agreement,”The Guardian quoted Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization in the US, as saying. “Oregon’s climate leadership is an example for states across the country.”
Pacific Power said that the transition would raise the costs by less than one percent till 2030 and would bring down carbon pollution by 30m metric tons.
“Maintaining the affordability and the reliability of the electric grid is very important to us,” Scott Bolton, Pacific Power’s vice-president of external affairs, said. “Working through the legislative process with a diverse range of stakeholders, we have meaningfully advanced Oregon’s clean energy future in a way that is both workable and affordable.”
Oregon has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent of the levels in 2005 by 2050. It is following the measures adopted by the UK to do away with coal-fired power and China’s decision to put a ban on all coal mine approvals in the next three years.