I’m pleased to have a chance to discuss exponential energy and the future with Oregon Rural Electric Cooperatives tomorrow November 12, 2020 in a virtual conference. They face interesting choices later in the decade when Bonneville Power contracts for hydro power expire and the next 20-year options are on the table. That cheap hydro power is expected to continue to be available, but it provides only about half the electricity that the utilities resell. Today the rest comes mostly from natural gas and coal, with some from wind, solar and nuclear.
Looking ahead, the choices will not be easy. The state is requiring 25% renewable energy by 2025, and 50% by 2040 while some Oregon cities have more ambitious standards. This target is likely to shift toward more aggressive standards over time. It was just announced the only coal-fired electricity generation in Oregon will be shutting down. Utilities still buy coal power from other states.
I will be exploring exponential growth of solar, wind and storage, while not discounting hydro nor the possibility of smaller cheaper nuclear. I will suggest we are entering a new electric century.
And the cool thing is that I get to share the virtual stage with Bill Walton, loved in Oregon for leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a championship back in the day!