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Oregon has opportunity to lead clean tech revolution

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Oregon has opportunity to lead clean tech revolution

Mar 04, 2024 | 8:30 am ET
By Alicia Chapman Robert Benjamin
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Oregon has opportunity to lead clean tech revolution
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The Oregon Legislature, which started Feb. 5, is in its last week for 2024. (Ben Botkin/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Oregon and our nation stand on the brink of a transformative moment for our economy and climate, but many talented and devoted clean tech entrepreneurs and companies in Oregon face an immense challenge. Limited state support for clean energy technology restricts our ability to get business off the ground, expand them or establish new manufacturing facilities.     

While Oregon’s clean energy landscape is ripe for growth and innovation, we’ve yet to fully capitalize on the opportunities at hand. The federal Inflation Reduction Act includes a staggering $60 billion in incentives for domestic manufacturing across the clean energy supply chain, drawing companies from around the globe to invest in clean technology facilities across the U.S.  Unfortunately, Oregon remains conspicuously absent from the map of private clean tech manufacturing investments.

It’s time to change that narrative. It’s time for Oregon to step up and assert itself as a powerhouse in the clean energy revolution. Passage of the Oregon clean technology leadership bill, House Bill 4112, would provide the necessary tools to do just that.

HB 4112 is the culmination of 18 months of collaborative effort involving businesses, innovators, labor groups, academics, economic development organizations and climate advocates from across Oregon. This bill would offer a comprehensive approach to maximizing our state’s potential in attracting, expanding and sustaining clean energy technology industries and manufacturers. 

By creating an opportunity fund within Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, the bill would provide needed incentives to attract, expand and sustain clean energy technology manufacturing facilities right here in Oregon. Additionally, it would direct the Department of Administrative Services to develop procurement policies to prioritize zero-emission technologies, fostering local job creation and manufacturing. This would not only boost our economy but also create high-quality jobs for Oregonians while positioning our state as a hub for clean energy innovation. 

Finally, the bill would also establish a statewide advisory council within the governor’s office to continue fostering a thriving clean energy ecosystem. By bringing together public and private stakeholders, this council would play a crucial role in identifying opportunities for growth, removing barriers to entry and ensuring that Oregon remains competitive in the rapidly evolving clean tech market.

HB 4112 enjoys widespread support from a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including major technology companies, clean energy developers, academic institutions, labor unions, climate advocates and local businesses. These groups recognize the urgent need for legislative action to propel Oregon to the forefront of the clean technology revolution, and they are eager for Oregon’s leaders to prioritize the passage of HB 4112 during this short legislative session. 

Let’s seize this moment and position Oregon as a beacon of clean technology leadership for generations to come. By doing so, we could position our state as a hub for innovation, drive economic prosperity, and lead the way towards a cleaner, brighter future for Oregon and our planet.