On March 26, 2021, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) adopted new rules for the state’s Clean Fuels Program (CFP), which reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with transportation fuels. Like California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, Oregon’s CFP recognizes electricity as a low-carbon transportation fuel with the average carbon intensity of the statewide or utility-specific mix of generating resources. The new rules allow Green-e® certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) to demonstrate use of offsite renewable electricity and lower the carbon intensity of electricity used as a transportation fuel in the Program. Now, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, fleet owners, and other buyers of Green-e® certified RECs can generate CFP credits for charging vehicles with zero-emissions power from renewable resources. These entities can also generate credits by participating in utility renewable electricity programs, including Green-e® certified programs from PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric (PGE).
To qualify for the program, RECs must be Green-e® certified, from facilities located in the West, from facilities placed into service after 2015 (except biogas facilities, which must meet the new data requirements in the Green-e Renewable Energy Standard for Canada and the United States), and retired in the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS). Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) explained that its decision to require Green-e® certification “will help DEQ ensure that RECs used for the Clean Fuels Program embody the full environmental attributes of the renewable electricity and that the emissions reduction benefits are not double-counted.”
This is an exciting development with the potential for EVs and clean transportation markets to increase demand for green power and transform the electricity and transportation sectors at the same time. It is also an example showing how existing green power market tools and programs can fit with the objectives and requirements of clean transportation programs to achieve economy-wide benefits. By adopting rules that use RECs to account for zero-emissions electricity from renewable energy used for EV charging, Oregon’s decision further recognizes the role of RECs in greenhouse gas accounting.
Center for Resource Solutions staff is looking forward to working with the Oregon DEQ to provide additional guidance related to reporting and verification of certified sales—including use of the new Green-e® Energy Procurement Review, which will allow for expedited verification of sales to buyers earning credits under the Oregon CFP.
Todd Jones is Policy Director at Center for Resource Solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com or 415-561-2118.