Funding 20+ Years of Affordable Energy
Energy Trust funding comes from utility customers and is invested on their behalf in low-cost energy efficiency, renewable energy and grid-connected technologies.
Where Our Funding Comes From
As a result of state legislation, tariffs and other requirements, Energy Trust is funded by customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista. Customers of these five utilities pay a small percentage of their utility bills to support a variety of energy-efficiency and renewable energy services and programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. This charge is referred to as a system benefit charge or public purpose charge on customer bills depending on the utility.
Building block 1: Funding for cost-effective energy efficiency
Energy Trust receives funding to acquire cost-effective energy efficiency resources. This block of funding comes from utility tariffs set in accordance with public utility commission standard ratemaking processes. For Oregon customers those tariffs are approved by the Oregon Public Utility Commission; for Washington customers they are approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. For all five utilities, funding amounts are set yearly through our annual budgeting and action planning process. Those funding amounts are based on the cost-effective energy efficiency resource potential identified in each utility’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
Block 2: Funding for small-scale renewable energy systems and grid-connected technologies
Funding for small-scale renewable energy systems and grid-connected technologies comes from a portion of Oregon’s public purpose charge, which was revised in 2022 following passage of HB 3141. This dedicated funding is used to reduce the above-market costs of small-scale renewable generation from rooftop solar, hydropower, biopower, and some instances of wind and geothermal. We invest in distribution system-connected technologies that deliver reliability and resiliency to the electric grid, such as battery storage and smart inverters, in addition to generation. We also ensure at least 25% of our renewable energy revenues are invested in activities, resources and technologies that serve low- and moderate-income customers, including technologies that do not have above-market costs.
Block 3: Funding through contracts
Energy Trust contracts with select entities to deliver programs that align with our mission and support our core energy savings and generation work. This includes a subcontract to support delivery of Oregon’s Community Solar Program, a PGE pilot program that offers incentives for customers to add battery storage to a solar system; and pilots with utilities to study targeted load management.