The Governor’s Ten Year Energy Action Plan Task Force released its Draft Energy Plan on June 5, 2012. The plan outlines the actions and initiatives of that the State of Oregon can take in the next 10 years to:
• Reduce the state’s dependence on carbon-intensive fuels and foreign oil
• Develop home-grown renewable energy resources
• Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions
• Improve energy efficiency and create rewarding local jobs
• Boost Oregon’s economy through investment and innovation
The siting portion of the plan analyzes which projects should be reviewed by local or state government, as well as the role other governmental agencies and entities should play in the siting process. The recommendations include the creation of an interdisciplinary team of agencies led by a Project Officer to review proposed Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) projects; and a similar, but separate coordination process for projects under federal and state review
In addition, the Task Force suggests that counties could benefit from staff expertise from the Oregon Department of Energy and other state agencies such as ODFW, DEQ, and DSL. But, of greater significance is the recommendation that local governments adopt state designated minimum safe harbor standards for wind and solar project. Such standardization would allow for greater review consistency. Therefore, industry would not have to reinvent the wheel each time it tries to build a project in a different jurisdiction. However, the challenge to incentivize adoption of such a standardized set of regulations is that particular jurisdictions may want to strike a different balance of environmental and natural resource protection. No doubt, more committee work will be necessary to iron out many of these details.
The recommendations continue for pages describing improvements to public participation, noise standards, updating state laws to meet federal requirements, and time limits for permits. The Governor’s Office seeks comments by July 31, 2012.
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