Jason Johns on Panel for Portland Business Journal’s Energy Thought Leader Forum

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Attorney Jason Johns was a participant in the Portland Business Journal’s “Energy Thought Leader Forum,” for which Stoel Rives was a sponsor. Currently, hydroelectric power provides the largest portion of Oregon’s energy, followed by coal and natural gas, but according to the state, by 2040 half of its electricity will come from renewables. Panelists were asked for their thoughts on Oregon’s current energy landscape and on the guiding principles behind decision-making and energy planning.

On the question of what he thought the primary trends in the regional energy industry are that will impact the operations of utilities and renewable developers and operators, Johns said that a new market for renewable energy is being created in the Pacific Northwest by the desire of large power users, such as data centers, to have the option available to purchase energy of that type.

He also noted, “…residential consumers are getting their shot at more direct participation in the renewable energy industry through programs like community solar gardens and other green tariffs.”

On the question of what are the primary regulatory and compliance concerns of  regional energy producers, Johns said, “…they are concerned with the limitations that are imposed on their business by the market and regulations, particularly in the northwest where they still operate within a balkanized system and a century-old regulatory construct. There are certainly good reasons for that construct, but to some extent it also prevents the expansion of the energy market and limits development as a result.”

Finally, the panelists were asked whether they thought “…we’re ‘greener’ or more energy conscious here in the Northwest where we tend to be more aware of our environment and our surroundings? Or, do you think this is happening across the United States?”

“I don’t think it’s limited to the Pacific Northwest,” Johns said. “We regularly work on renewable energy projects across the country, and I have seen little distinction between red and blue states in this regard.”

Read “Energy Thought Leader Forum,” published September 8, 2017. (PDF) 

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