The Hood River County Energy Plan is a blueprint for improving community resilience, increasing energy independence, and increasing economic benefits related to energy use in Hood River County while reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The plan was adopted by Hood River County, the City of Hood River, the Port of Hood River, and the Port of Cascade Locks in 2018.

Energy Plan Vision & Goals:

Vision Statement

The Hood River County Energy Plan is a blueprint to improve community resilience, increase energy independence, and increase economic benefits related to energy use in Hood River County while reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Goals

Fossil Fuel Reduction

Replace 30%, 50%, and 80% of power generated from fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy in buildings, water systems, and transportation by 2030, 2040, and 2050 respectively as compared with 2016 levels.

Improve Resiliency & Energy Independence

Generate 50% of the county’s energy needs from local, diversified energy sources and storage capacity by 2050. Increase overall capacity price security, energy generation control and stability, and provide key services in the event of emergency.

Local Investment

Strategically develop and utilize $25 million in revolving funds by 2025 to enable local projects and create a business environment that supports the Energy Plan’s goals.

Energy Plan Focus Areas

  • Buildings explores Design, Construction, and Occupancy factors impacting  energy use in new and existing residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
  • Transportation and Land Use addresses the planning decisions and infrastructure that impact how people move from place to place with the goal of reducing the energy used in transportation.
  • Agriculture and Water addresses the movement of agricultural water and the energy used or energy produced by that movement.
  • Community Scale Solutions looks at how renewable energy generating facilities could be owned and operated in Hood River County.

Baseline Energy Inventory

In Hood River County, energy is largely consumed in the form of gasoline, electricity, natural gas (methane), and diesel fuel. Hood River County residents purchase just under 50% of their electricity from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which provides electricity largely from hydro and nuclear resources. This electricity is sold to customers in Hood River County through Hood River Electric Co-Op and the City of Cascade Locks Electric Department (City Light). Pacific Power supplies the rest of the county’s electricity, which is generated predominantly by coal and natural gas with some renewables and hydropower.

This chart illustrates how the fossil-fuel electricity (pink) is getting cleaned up by the HB 2021 policy and how gasoline consumption goes to nearly zero by 2042 due to the Advanced CleanCars II policy, both at the state level. The usage of electric energy increases in order to fuel vehicles but the much higher energy efficiency of EVs allows total energy use to drop significantly, even with population growth.

The Hood River County Energy Plan sets measurable goals for reduction of fossil fuel emissions and energy use. In order to track our community’s progress toward meeting our clean energy goals, the Energy Council keeps a working inventory of the County’s energy use, costs, and emissions, along with a business-as-usual projection for those through 2050. 

Tracking County Progress on Energy Plan Goal 1
Goal 1:
Replace 30%, 50%, and 80% of power generated from fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy in buildings, water systems, and transportation by 2030, 2040, and 2050 respectively as compared with 2016 levels.
State policies for clean electricity and vehicles will dramatically aid in achieving fossil fuel reductions and significant cost savings annually. The 2040 goal is projected to be achieved, but additional county and state actions to reach the 2030 and 2050 goals could further reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase financial savings. Gasoline usage is the county’s largest energy consumption, energy cost, and source of toxic and climate emissions.

The current energy trajectory (“business-as-usual”) results in significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, but falls short of the global target of 50% reduction by 2030 and 90% by 2050 (red line.) Further reductions and cost savings are possible in transportation by electrifying more trucks and buses and in buildings by electrification and increasing energy efficiency.

Tracking County Progress on Energy Plan Goal 2

Goal 2:
Generate 50% of the county’s energy needs within the county from local, diversified sources and energy storage by 2050.
Currently, two of Hood River County’s irrigation districts, Farmers Irrigation District (FID) and Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID), generate nearly 20% of the county’s amount of electric energy through their in-conduit hydro electric generators. Both districts likely have some potential to grow their generation, but the most potential for more in-county generation exists with East Fork Irrigation District, which has not piped its water distribution system and therefore has a potential to integrate in-conduit micro-turbines to save water, generate electricity, and increase efficiency of irrigation pumps.

In addition, there is also a small but growing segment of rooftop solar ‘distributed generation’ in Hood River County which, in 2016, amounted to 1,530 MWh. The majority of this, 1,322 MWh, or 86%, was incentivized through Energy Trust of Oregon. However, significantly more distributed generation is needed to meet our resilience goals. Potential areas for increased solar energy generation include residential and commercial rooftops and parking lots; each of these have federal incentives but tend to be difficult to justify economically since grid electricity in the county is relatively cheap.

Energy Policy Simulators

The Oregon County-Level Energy Action Planner (OCLEAP)

To address the need for county-level energy inventorying, planning, and tracking, the Oregon County-Level Energy Action Planner (OCLEAP) was developed for efficiently gathering a county’s main energy uses, costs, and emissions, then applying state-level trends to project a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario through 2050. This tool can also be used to investigate potential policies and scenarios for energy sources and uses through 2050 in order to compare these scenarios to the BAU scenario.

In addition to the above charts, OCLEAP plots energy costs for transportation, for buildings, and for an average household; passenger and truck fleet projections and their energy usages; building energy by source; and costs and emissions vs. the BAU scenario. OCLEAP is an open-source Excel workbook and structured as a template that other small Oregon counties can adapt for their uses. To download an OCLEAP workbook, please contact staff here.

The Oregon Energy Policy Simulator (EPS)

The Oregon Energy Policy Simulator (EPS), released March 10, 2022, provides free, online, non-partisan, open-source analyses of energy policy scenarios for the state of Oregon. EPS adaptations for all 48 contiguous states are supported by Energy Innovation and RMI. Each scenario edit starts a new simulation. Simulation outputs include graphs of emissions, energy usages, costs/savings, jobs, GDP, earnings, health impacts, vehicle fleets, buildings, fuel and technology costs, etc. through 2050, plus marginal abatement cost (MAC) curves. The design of the OCLEAP tool was inspired partly by features of the Oregon EPS; but OCLEAP is a small subset of the functionality of the EPS.