One of Oregon’s greatest assets is its ability to provide clean, green, low-cost power to large-scale industrial customers. To learn more about how Oregon does this, we turned to the ultimate expert on this topic: Portland General Electric President and CEO Maria Pope.
How do Oregon’s clean energy goals impact industry?
MARIA POPE: It is clear that customers in our state, nation and around the globe expect businesses to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible fashion. These expectations include creating products and services that promote a better future for all and protect the environment. Oregon’s commitment to clean energy enhances businesses’ market competitiveness by making it easy to power their operations with 100% clean energy, which matters to customers now more than ever.
What are the challenges or opportunities it presents to your business and its customers?
POPE: Customer expectations continue to increase and they want to do business with those who are making a difference. This expectation is global: from climate protests and convenings of world leaders to investor ESG focus. Operating in Oregon, where a commitment to clean and equitable energy is a priority, creates advantage for businesses.
PGE’s commitment to clean energy makes it easier for businesses to meet environmental ESG targets and to show their customers the tangible difference they are making in the fight against climate change.
Can you share some of the new technologies or innovations that PGE is exploring to support growing customer needs?
POPE: PGE continuously innovates to deliver reliable, affordable, and clean energy to our customers. We partner with our customers of all sizes to deliver reliability they can count on, while empowering them to meet their unique clean energy goals. Customers are at the center of all we do, and we continue to partner to provide clean energy options such as solar, battery storage, wind, and hydro. PGE is building an industry-first combined wind, solar, and battery storage generation facility in Oregon to serve clean and reliable power. We take an all-of-the-above approach to provide peace of mind to our customers that their energy will be reliable, clean, and affordable and we custom tailor solutions to meet their unique needs.
Do you think EVs are a viable option for business customers now?
POPE: EVs are a key part of a clean energy future and are viable for businesses right now. Oregon established an innovative Clean Fuels program to help accelerate EV adoption and to provide incentives for businesses to move to EVs. Adoption of EVs is growing at 30 to 50 percent a year and PGE is helping to accelerate this growth by enabling EV charging, expanding EV infrastructure, and partnering with EV providers across transit, freight, and vehicle OEMs. PGE is committed to making it easy for businesses to adopt EVs with 360-degree solutions that include turnkey “make-ready” infrastructure, EV fleet services, infrastructure maintenance, and 100% clean energy. PGE works with our customers to ensure they have the infrastructure and services they need to move to EVs and that they are prepared to fully maximize all Oregon’s Clean Fuels program has to offer.
As a CEO and business leader, what is your vision for Oregon?
POPE: Oregon is a state where natural beauty and resources combine with a commitment to creating a better, cleaner, and more equitable future. We work collaboratively to enhance our economic vitality and create business opportunities. Businesses can thrive here through clean energy solutions and proximity to other innovative businesses and industries.
Why would you tell a company from outside the state or country to move its business here?
POPE: We are open for business, with three key assets — first, a business environment that is proactive, collaborative and solutions-oriented. Secondly, a workforce that is ready today and being trained for the future. And thirdly, policy leadership who enables global competitiveness that businesses can count on.