December 2022 – Oregon Policy Update
December 7, 2022
BPA tracks the latest policy updates and legislative issues in many states across the nation. See the latest policy information for Oregon as of December 2022.
Disclaimer: Inclusion of any bills/regulations in this state policy update does not equate to BPA’s endorsement.
In November, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) released draft rules and is accepting public comments ahead of a virtual public hearing to develop rules for two new programs incentivizing heat pump installations for homeowners and renters (more details below).
Meanwhile, a new Joint Task Force on Resilient Efficient (RE) Buildings at the Oregon Legislature continues to meet to develop a report by 2023 on how to improve home energy efficiency in Oregon, as is required by a new bill passed this year (see SB18).
These efforts to improve energy efficiency in homes and buildings comes after the Oregon Legislature passed a $1.4 billion budget supplement package in 2022 that provided boosted funding for the Healthy Homes Repair Program including $5 million to help low-income Oregonians undertake household weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades (see more details on the Healthy Homes Repair Program under HB 2842 passed in 2021).
- In November, ODOE launched the formal rulemaking process to finalize guidelines for the Community Heat Pump Deployment Program – a $10 million program providing grants to regional administrators to provide financial assistance for homeowners to install heat pumps – and the Rental Home Heat Pump Program – a $15 million rebate program for the installation of heat pumps in rental homes. These new programs were established by SB 1536 passed by the Oregon legislature in 2022 (more details below). ODOE is accepting public comments on draft rules for the implementation of these programs and will hold its first rulemaking hearing to review testimony on the draft rules for the programs on January 5.
2022 Regular Session Dates: February 1 through March 7.
Bills that passed in 2022:
- SB 1518 Resilient Efficient Buildings Task Force establishes a Resilient, Efficient Buildings Task Force. Its scope is to evaluate policies related to building codes and building decarbonization to help new and existing homes and buildings reach Oregon’s targets for reducing climate pollution, increase energy efficiency, improve health and air quality, and build resilience to climate threats. The Task Force will submit recommendations to the legislature before the beginning of the 2023 session. The House passed SB 1518 on March 3 and Governor Brown signed the bill into law on March 17.
- SB 1536 Relating to Indoor Temperature Control establishes a $10 million heat pump deployment program providing grants to local administrators (including local governments, housing authorities, nonprofits, or utilities) to provide financial assistance to deploy heat pumps in homes. These regional programs are to prioritize environmental justice communities, homes without cooling or heating, and homes that are heated with oil, wood, propane, or electric resistance. The legislation also establishes a $15 million grant/rebate program for the installation of heat pumps in rental homes, allowing contractors to apply for grants and rebates on behalf of landlords across the state. SB 1536 became state law on March 23, 2022 after it was signed by the Governor earlier that month.
Bills considered but not passed in 2022:
- HB 4058 Healthy Homes Updates amends the scope of the Healthy Homes Program, passed in 2021, to provide financial assistance to low-income households to “support or enable the use of energy efficiency upgrades such as heating and cooling devices.” The bill also appropriates $10 million to establish a heat pump deployment program, which will provide grants that may provide up to the full purchase and installation costs of heat pumps, as well as weatherization and repairs for homes without functioning heating or cooling systems. The minimum efficiency ratings of eligible heat pumps systems will be determined by the Department of Energy. This bill did not pass, however, $5 million was provided in the budget supplement for the Healthy Homes Program.