Actions include quadrupling renewable investments, saying ‘no’ to coal and identifying cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel bonds.
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler announced three actions to increase Oregon’s investments in profitable, renewable energy funds.
“As the renewables landscape continues to grow and mature, I am more confident than ever that we can both invest in renewables that meet the high standards we have for all of our investments, and push for the development of profitable investment opportunities in the clean energy sector,” said Wheeler.
The actions announced include:
Treasurer Wheeler says Oregon is on track to double our investments in renewables by January 2020, and double them again by 2030. According to the International Energy Agency, “in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst effects of climate change, investments in low-carbon energy technologies will need to at least double by 2020, and then double again by 2030.” Though Oregon’s investments in renewables are modest relative to our total portfolio, we are committed to meeting these goals at the state level.
Treasurer Wheeler will not support new coal investments. Recent analyses have concluded that profitable investments in coal are diminishing, with some concerned that coal investments will become “stranded assets.” Funds that would otherwise be invested in coal could be put to more profitable use elsewhere.
Treasurer Wheeler has commissioned a study to determine whether Oregon can replace fossil fuel companies in its fixed income portfolio. Oregon currently holds some legacy bonds from fossil fuel companies on the “Carbon Tracker 200” list. The study will determine whether those bonds can be replaced when they mature with other energy investments with similar risk-return attributes that are not on the list.
“As a fiduciary of Oregon’s $90 billion portfolio, I am responsible for choosing investments that financially benefit our taxpayers, schools, communities, and retired public employees today and for decades to come,” said Wheeler. “I believe I can fulfill that responsibility while at the same time making choices that preserve our environment and protect our climate.”
Ted Wheeler is a sixth generation Oregonian known for innovative solutions and a pragmatic approach to governing. He led passage of the Oregon Investment Act to build a stronger job market and grow the state economy, and the Oregon Retirement Security Act to ensure all Oregonians have access to a retirement plan through their place of employment. In 2014, The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems named Wheeler its Elected Official of the Year for working to increase retirement savings and options for private sector employees.