Pacific Power warns against coal-to-clean efforts

Proposed bills would prohibit investor-owned utilities from selling coal-produced electricity.

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Proposed bills would prohibit investor-owned utilities from selling coal-produced electricity.

Pacific Power said the bills would not limit carbon emissions, Portland Business Journal reports.

Spokesman Ry Schwark said Pacific Power supports reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants and is scheduled to stop burning coal at several plants. It prefers to see how the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (111d), which would curb coal-based production, plays out.

“If we can get multistate cooperation, 111d is the way to go. State by state action in advance of a rule on 111d is premature,” he said.

Forcing companies to come up with alternatives on short notice would be costly, Schwark said.

Passing “coal to clean” measures is a top priority of the environmental lobby this session.

The Portland Tribune writes:

Both [coal to clean bills] would require utilities to stop generating or purchasing electricity from coal power plants by 2025. The Senate version also would require companies to replace coal power with electricity from sources “at least 90 percent cleaner than coal-derived generating resources,” according to a legislative summary.

[Registered lobbyist and coordinator for a coalition of environmental groups Christy] Splitt said other priorities this year include a bill to require private forestland owners to provide notice to the state and keep other records of their use of pesticides; a bill to appropriate money for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to spend on conservation; and legislation that would allow the state to end a mandate to generate revenue from timber harvests on some public forests. Environmental groups also are pushing for the passage of legislation that would preserve or create incentives for a range of solar projects, from residential to utility scale facilities. Lawrence said solar energy “still needs a little bit of a hand in the next step in putting it on a level playing field with fossil fuel.”

The executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Oregon also pledged his support for the power bills because he believes they could pass savings on to ratepayers who would benefit from early regulation on coal.