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Oregon Ranked #4, Portland Ranked #8 For Energy Efficiency

Friday, October 23, 2015


Oregon ranks #4 in the United states in new comprehensive review of the energy efficiency, while Portland ranks #8 for American cities.

The analysis conducted by the American Council of Energy-Efficiency Economy reviewed a sweeping array of factors in each of the 50 states.

Oregon was topped by only three other states. Massachusetts ranked #1, California ranked #2 and Vermont ranked #3. 

The poorest ranking states were Colorado #50 and North Dakota #51 (Washington DC was included in the ranking).

"The top 10 states for energy efficiency are Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, and New York, with Minnesota and Illinois tied for 10th place. Massachusetts retains the top spot for the fifth consecutive year based on a strong commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act," according to ACEEE.

“As states move to frame their plans under the federal Clean Power Plan, this year marks a tipping point for energy efficiency. State policies are increasingly encouraging utilities to invest in cost-effective efficiency, prompting them to adopt new business models that align their interests with those of customers and policymakers. We can see this taking hold in the 20 states that improved their Scorecard rank in 2015. Utilities across the United States invested more than $7 billion in energy efficiency over the past year alone,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel

According to the report, Oregon scored well for:

Financial Incentives—As part of the SELP statute (ORS 470) provides easy-to-use financing for residential and commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Oregon by providing 100% upfront long term, low-interest loans to property owners that can be paid back on the utility bill and transferred to a subsequent owner. EEAST loans can be for up to $40,000 for residential and small commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy technology with the primary repayment to be through the customer utility bill (on-bill payment). There are no cap limitations on multi-family structures. The law also provides a mechanism to bring in grant money to work in concert with the loan program.

Utilities-Oregon is a leading state in energy efficiency, with programs dating back to the 1980s. Oregon energy utilities were first required to offer residential weatherization assistance to their customers by the 1981 Residential Energy Conservation Act. In 1989, the Oregon Public Utility Commission’s (OPUC’s) Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) Order No. 89-507 required the utilities to consider energy efficiency as a resource when developing plans.   Oregon's 1999 restructuring law, SB 1149, established a public purpose charge to support electric energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income programs. The public purpose charge is equal to 3% of the total revenues collected by the utilities and provides about $60 million per year for the electric programs.

Public Buildings- The state's residential building code is equivalent to the 2012 IECC, while the commercial building code is expected to be within plus or minus 2% of ASHRAE 90.1-2013. The state has completed a variety of activities to ensure compliance, including establishing a stakeholder advisory board. Utilities are involved in code compliance efforts.

The 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code (OEESC) is mandatory statewide. The 2014 OEESC used the 2010 OEESC as a base document, and included new strengthening amendments such as lighting power density tables to equal to ASHRAE 90.1-2013 where the 2010 OEESC did not already meet or exceed 90.1-2013. With the commercial building updates incorporated into 2014 OEESC, Oregon’s energy code is expected to be within plus or minus 2% of ASHRAE 90.1-2013.

According to the report, Portland scored well for:

Energy and Water Utilities- Energy and Water Utilities-Portland General Electric (PGE), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Portland. NorthWest Natural, an IOU, is the primary natural gas utility serving the city of Portland. All gas and electric utility ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs available to the City of Portland are run through the Energy Trust of Oregon. The utilities partner with the city to increase participation in the efficiency programs. The State of Oregon requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS and efficiency requirements in utility IRPs.  

The Portland Water Bureau, a municipally-run utility, provides drinking water to the City of Portland. The Portland Environmental Services Bureau provides both wastewater treatment and stormwater management services. 

Community-Wide Initiatives- Portland’s community-engagement program is aimed at motivating city residents to alter their behavior in ways that reduce carbon emissions. The city’s community engagement initiative, Climate Action Now!, focuses on several topic areas including home energy usage, transportation, and recycling. Portland also engages the community through other programs including community climate workshops and the Multnomah County Climate Short-Film Contest. 

The 2009 Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan was adopted by Resolution No. 36748. The plan sets a goal of reducing Portland’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The GHG goal is incorporated into the city’s draft update to the Comprehensive Plan, which is currently in process. Portland engaged with steering committees and several technical advisory groups to develop this goal and continues to engage with community stakeholders for climate action plan progress reports.

Local Government Operations-Portland’s Climate Action Plan articulates the city’s energy and climate goals for its internal government operations. The plan acknowledges that while city emissions account for a small fraction of Portland’s overall emissions, it is still important for the government to lead by example. To this end, Portland has established a significant and varied strategy for reducing its emissions that includes requiring energy efficient government buildings, procuring efficient vehicles, and incentivizing transit for government employees. 

Portland's Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce carbon emissions from city and county government operations 50% from 1990 levels by 2030. This goal was formally adopted when the Climate Action Plan was codified by binding city policy BCP-ENN-5.02. Each of Portland’s local government bureaus has a sustainability plan for its own operations and the overall GHG goals are being incorporated into the city’s draft update to the Comprehensive Plan, which is in process. 

The above are verbatim from the report.


Related Slideshow: Oregon Business Rankings in US

See how Oregon stacked up against the other states in the U.S.

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Oregon gets a C+ for small business friendliness from Thumbtack, in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation.

According to the ranking:

Overall friendliness C+

Ease of starting a business B
Ease of hiring D+
Regulations D
Health & safety D
Employment, labor & hiring D
Tax code D+
Licensing C-
Environmental D
Zoning D+
Training & networking programs B+

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CEO Magazine

CEO magazine was not kind to Oregon.

The state ranked in the bottom ten states at #42.

Oregon get lumped by CEO's as being California like - too much regulation.

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The 2015 rankings puts Oregon in the top 20. Oregon ranks #18 in the United States. 

NY ranks one spot ahead at #17 and Florida ranks after Oregon.

#1 in the United States: Utah

#50 in the United States: Mississippi

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Oregon has been ranked as the 2nd most eco-friendly state in the country, according to a recent study by WalletHub

Oregon ranks eighth in environmental quality and first in Eco-Friendly Behaviors landing them in second overall. 

Oregon is behind Vermont and ahead of New York and Minnesota who land in the third and fourth spots respectively. 

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The Economist

Small Business Friendliness Grade: C+

The Economist grades states on an A+ to F grading scale for its small business climate. Oregon is one of 4 states that earned a "C+"

Overbearing bureaucracy and excessive licensing is stifling small business in America. 

Read More About The Economist Grade Here

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#22 CNBC

CNBC ranks each state in cost of doing business, economy, technology and innovation.

Read More About CNBC Ranking Here

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Wallet Hub

#28 Wallet Hub

Wallet Hub ranks each state in ROI rank, state tax rank, and overall government services.

Read More About Wallet Hub Ranking Here

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#38 Kauffman Foundation

Kauffman Foundation ranks each state in entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial activity generally is highest in Western and Southern states and lowest in Midwestern and Northeastern states.

Read More About Kauffman Ranking Here

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#19 Forbes in 2014

Forbes ranks each state in business costs, economic climate, and growth prospects.

Read More About Forbes Rankings Here


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