New analysis: As renewable energy grows nationwide, Oregon has room to grow

Media Contacts

Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America Research & Policy Center

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon ranks 17th in the nation for solar and wind power generation growth between 2012 and 2021, according to a new online dashboard released on Thursday by Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center.

The dashboard, Renewables on the Rise 2022, documents state-by-state growth of six key clean energy technologies over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations. Despite an overall middle of the pack rating for growing clean energy, there are bright moments for Oregon.

The Beaver State has seen a 24-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun over the past decade, compared to a 15-fold increase nationally. Solar is growing faster in Oregon than nationwide, but not as fast as leading states like California, Texas and Florida.

“Oregon is making important progress to get more of our energy from solar,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director with Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center. “As we look to the second half of this decade, we need to accelerate clean energy growth to hit our statewide goal of 100% clean electricity by 2040.” 

Beyond solar, the dashboard showed that 12,801 electric vehicles were sold in Oregon in 2021, and 2,195 electric vehicles charging ports were installed across the state by the end of 2021. 

In addition to highlighting states that have made the most progress in adopting renewable energy technologies, the research also details the rapid gains achieved nationally over the past decade. According to the report, America produced more than three times as much renewable electricity from the sun, the wind and the earth in 2021 as in 2012. 

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress this summer and signed by President Biden offers consumers tax credits and discounts on more than a dozen types of energy-saving purchases, including new and used electric vehicles, rooftop solar, geothermal heating and cooling, upgrading electric panels, and heat pump HVAC systems, water heaters and clothes dryers. Some of the credits are in effect now, and many will take effect in 2023. 

Modeling by Energy Innovation found that the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act will spur clean energy and reduce pollution from fossil fuels, preventing up to 4,500 premature deaths and up to 119,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030.

“Millions of Americans and Oregon residents are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” Meiffren-Swango said. “With federal tax credits promising to turbocharge clean energy, now is the time for states to lean in on clean energy and transform the vision of 100% clean and renewable energy for Oregon into a reality. Producing power in ways that doesn’t pollute our air or make our kids sick has so many benefits. The sooner we make it happen, the better.”