Policy Update: The Busy is About to Get Busier



There was a time when the “dog days of summer” really did mean ”a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.” But the summer of 2016 was marked by anything but inactivity on the policy front. And it’s about to get busier.

First, once again, a huge “THANKS” to everyone who helped out in responding to the draft solar report (UM 1758), which certainly made the last month very hectic. The draft report was damaging to our industry and needed a strong response. And respond you did. In addition to OSEIA’s comments, many OSEIA members called and sent e-mails outlining the potential negative impacts of the draft report’s recommendations.

The schedule to deliver the report to the legislature has been significantly altered as a results of the comments and the follow-up workshop that was held. The second draft of the report was originally due on August 23, then was pushed back a week and now is not due until September 2 because the PUC got permission from the legislature to turn in their report a several weeks past the original September 15 deadline. In addition, several workshops have also been scheduled. Hopefully all this will result in a better report to the legislature. If it doesn’t, well, OSEIA members have shown we can bring the heat.

Lots of other activity is happening at the PUC as well. The community solar rulemaking (AR 603) got underway on Wednesday, August 31. Rules have to be in place by July 1, 2017. It’s clear a lot of work is ahead of us.

The docket to establish a Resource Value of Solar (UM 1716) will be ongoing over the next year as well. This is a critical proceeding that could help establish how valuable solar is to the utility system. Although it’s been going on for about a year, we’re just starting to enter the part of the process where things get real. Expect to see a lot about this docket in the next several months.

We are also in the midst of working on our legislative agenda for 2017. Lots of ideas have been put into the mix. If you haven’t gotten a chance to say what you think about the ideas, go here to provide your input.

The OSEIA Board and Policy Committee will be sorting through the ideas and will be identifying a range of items that represents the needs of the entire industry. We will be ratifying a complete agenda after the election in November. Stay tuned for more information about that!

Being successful on our agenda depends on OSEIA building clout at the legislature. A big part of that will depend on having policy conversations with legislators while they are running for office this fall. If you haven’t already, please make a $50 donation to the Oregon SolarPAC. We are getting ready to start making donations and, if you donate, you’ll have the chance to meet with legislators to tell them how important solar is to their district. We only have until the election so your donation is critical right now. Thanks for your support!

One more thing: Mark April 18, 2017 on your calendar. That will be Solar Lobby Day at the Oregon Capitol in Salem. Can we get at least 100 solar industry people there? I bet we can!

Thanks for everything. Go solar!

-Jeff Bissonnette