Clean Tech: Greener, Richer, Freer

Thanks to innovative policies Oregon has made progress to reduce climate pollution and advance an equitable transition to a clean energy economy. More and more people in Oregon and across the United States are embracing electric vehicles and efficient HVAC systems to heat and cool their homes. This is good news for our climate, as well as Oregon’s economy: recently adopted Oregon climate policies will create an estimated 10,000 jobs and add $2.5 billion to Oregon’s GDP.

As Oregon works to deliver on its climate goals, we also have an important opportunity to use federal incentives to produce and manufacture clean energy technologies, like heat pumps, wind turbines, and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, that will support our transition, and which are in ever-increasing demand worldwide.

At OEC’s Business & Environment Forum on December 14th, Rep. Emerson Levy (Oregon District 53) kicked off the forum explaining how clean tech leadership can make Oregon “greener, richer and freer” because clean energy can be produced closer to home, reduces carbon pollution through efficient processes and shorter transportation routes, and creates more good-paying jobs.

The Forum highlighted Rachelle Ames, VP of Economic Development from the National Clean Tech Alliance, and two Oregon entrepreneurs who are part of this transition, but who also noted that Oregon and the Pacific Northwest need to up their game to fully take advantage of this opportunity.

Robert Benjamin, CEO and founder of Aris Hydronics, based in the metro Portland region, described how renovating his 1945 house in Milwaukie inspired him to create better clean energy appliances and products for the home.

“If you want people to change, offer them something better,” he said. His company is now working to produce heat pumps that are five times more efficient than existing technologies in providing home heating, cooling, and hot water. Oregon has set a goal of deploying 500,000 heat pumps by 2030 but the U.S. is not a leader in manufacturing these appliances, and federal incentives to support domestic production of heat pumps within the U.S. have so far only benefited states east of the Rockies.

Alicia Chapman, CEO and founder of Willamette Technical Fabricators, named by Portland Business Journal as a “Manufacturer of the Year” in 2022, is working in partnership with the Port of Portland to build a new and bigger facility along the Columbia River that will efficiently ship offshore wind platforms up and down the Pacific Coast while creating new, family-wage jobs in Oregon. Willamette Technical Fabricators has demonstrated an impressive commitment to advancing an equitable clean energy economy and diverse workforce through on-the-job training programs and competitive salaries averaging $100,000. She noted that her biggest competitors are overseas, and highlighted how other countries provide much stronger financial support for clean energy manufacturing.

OEC members and supporters can help change this dynamic! The Oregon Clean Technology Leadership Bill will be reintroduced in the 2024 Oregon legislative session in February. If adopted, this bill will provide much-needed state incentives to attract, expand, and sustain clean energy technology manufacturers, like Aris Hydronics and Willamette Technical Fabricators, in Oregon. Lawmakers need to hear from their constituents that this investment is important to Oregon businesses and local economies! Please sign up for our Grassroots Action Information Network to find out how you can help.

OEC’s work to advance meaningful, lasting environmental progress is made possible by people across the state who care about safeguarding Oregon’s future. Make a difference. Become a member of OEC today

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