Thursday, May 24, 2007

Oregon is sustainable already

We were talking about sustainability at work a few weeks ago. One of my coworkers recycles everything she possibly can and eats only natural foods. Other people aren't quiet that dedicated, and I know I'm certainly not about to give up my earth-destroying mac and cheese *sarcasm*. A guy explained to us that the state government was instituting a bill requiring 25% of our state's energy to come from wind, sun, and wave (renewable) energy sources. I questioned the bill immediately. Here's why:

The bill requires the energy to come from wind, sun, and wave energy, but never states anything about energy coming from water. While damming up rivers isn't great for lots of reasons, hydroelectric power is renewable energy.

In case you haven't noticed, a significant portion of Oregon's energy comes from renewable sources already. The BPA has a nice paper on how much it has done for the state and region. I'm sure someone is going to balk at me about how dams are killing fish and destroying the earth and all manner of bad things. I'm not saying dams are a fix-all. I'm saying that at least 25% of Oregon's energy already comes from renewable sources, that's why the bill specifically leaves "water" off the list of sources (otherwise we'd already meet the requirement).

I think it's kind of funny. Smart, sure... we're miles ahead of other states, yet we're working even harder to be more sustainable. That's awesome.

And before you go off on me, telling me that I don't know anything about sustainability, I can assure you, I know. I worked with one of the leading sustainability groups in the state AND helped to spearhead the OSU sustainability initiative. That doesn't mean I'm a tree-hugging hippie... definitely not, but I'm at least informed.


Anonymous said...

hahahahaha... duh.

thartill said...

I guess my only question is why not produce 25% of our energy from renewable sources by 2025?

Also the bill does not leave out water completely...just water-power sources that were built before 1995. New ones count in the portfolios.

If you want to get into the real problem with this Bill, it's that it leaves biomass completely off the list. This is a huge source of energy for any area west of the Cascades. Especially in our area because we are basically tree farmers.

Another huge source of biomass power is hemp. (if it ever becomes legal again I know fat chance huh...)
It would create large amounts of oil for plastics and diesel engines, feed for livestock and electricity by way of co-generation plants.