Oregon to invest $5.4 billion into renewable energy in 2011

solar installers at work eugene oregon

Oregon’s renewable energy leaders announced that this year, capital investment in Oregon wind, solar and geothermal energy will top $5.4 billion, according to Renewable Northwest Project, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Portland.

Renewable energy leaders hailed this as a significant sign of progress as Oregon moves to diversify its energy portfolio while focusing on renewable energy industries as a statewide economic development strategy. “At a time of heightened focus on global energy crises, Oregon’s clean renewable resources offer least-cost, least-risk energy for the long term,” said Rachel Shimshak, executive director at Renewable Northwest Project.

“Wind farms have brought more than $17 million in property taxes and investments into Sherman County,” said Judge Gary Thompson, Sherman County Board of Commissioners. “That translates to meeting essential community needs like fire departments and health services, new supplies for students, and capital projects like construction of a new school, library and city hall.”

“We are proud to partner with residents of rural areas like Sherman County, who are preserving their traditional family farms by harvesting wind as an added kind of crop. In urban Oregon, our Northwest American Headquarters staffs 350 people, filling high-wage and high-tech jobs in our region,” said Sara McMahon Parsons, a wind energy developer at Iberdrola Renewables. “Our projects are bringing jobs, economic development and clean, renewable energy to the entire state,” Parsons added.

Guest speakers like Glenn Montgomery, executive director of Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association, discussed the role of solar industries in achieving the $5.4 billion landmark. “For the past three years, the solar industry has been a very bright star in Oregon’s dull economic sky. While most industries have contracted, solar has enjoyed significant expansion, along with other renewable technologies.