Driven by carbon emission reduction and renewable energy goals, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber recently released a new 10-year energy plan for the state that calls for conservation and energy efficiency to take care of all increased energy demand during the period. Fossil fuel use is discouraged, and natural gas is virtually unmentioned in the 49-page document..

In the cover letter introducing the plan to state lawmakers and residents, Kitzhaber said energy is "the issue of our time," and the plan "an economic action plan."

"This plan is a central component of my strategy to position Oregon to be more competitive in the global economy of the 21st Century, and it provides a framework to move away from a boom-bust economic cycle that depletes our natural capital and leaves us vulnerable to fluctuations in global markets," said the second-time governor, who acknowledged many of his proposed goals would be difficult to achieve.

The goal of meeting all new electricity load growth with conservation and efficiency programs "will be particularly challenging," said Kitzhaber, who previously served as the state's chief executive from 1995 through 2002, returning to the governorship in 2011.

The plan involves three core strategies: maximizing efficiency and conservation to absorb all new electricity growth; removing finance and regulatory barriers to building a "clean energy infrastructure;" and accelerating the transition to cleaner transportation fuels.

Kitzhaber said fuel costs for Oregon residents on average have doubled during the past decade.

"This plan calls for focusing on achieving a 20% conversion of large fleets to alternative fuel vehicles during the next 10 years," Kitzhaber said.

The 10-year plan said transportation fuels account for 37% of the state's carbon emissions, and Oregon can help lower this by increasing fleet conversions to liquefied natural gas, compressed natural gas and electric vehicles.

"Converting 20% of large fleets over the next 10 years will accelerate the market for newer, cleaner-burning vehicles that are less expensive to operate over the life of the vehicle, which will help the state and businesses save money on operations and fuel," the plan said.

The overriding goal is a 30% reduction in fossil fuel use, according to the plan, which was carved out last year over six months with the help of a citizens task force put together by the governor's office.

©Copyright 2013 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.