Carbon credits bought by gas companies will pay for new electric vehicles, charging stations

A rural northeast Oregon gas station, several community colleges and the Portland NAACP are among 10 grantees to receive money for electric vehicle charging stations from Pacific Power. 

The electric utility company awarded $800,000 in grants to boost electric vehicle use and infrastructure in the state, using earnings from its sale of carbon credits. 

Through the Clean Fuels Program, the state Department of Environmental Quality gives Pacific Power carbon credits based on the number of its customers who use electric vehicles and charge them at home. 

Pacific Power then sells those carbon credits to fossil fuel producers and importers. Those standards mandate that out-of-state fossil fuel producers reduce the carbon pollution from their products at least 10 percent from 2015 levels by 2025. 

To do this, oil companies can blend some biofuels with their gas, switch to cleaner fuels or they can invest in electric vehicles and infrastructure through carbon credits like those sold by Pacific Power. 

With its grant, the One Stop gas station in Athena, between Pendleton and Walla Walla, will get two fast-charging ports for electric vehicles. They hope to serve drivers traveling along the nearby Interstate 84 corridor.

The Portland NAACP will receive money for an electric shuttle bus and charging station.

Columbia Gorge Community College, Southwestern Oregon Community College and Klamath Community College will get funds for vehicle charging stations. Klamath Community College  will also get money for workforce training in electric vehicle systems and maintenance. 

Bend Parks and Recreation will get money to buy a new electric mower. Pacific Power wouldn’t disclose the amounts of the individual grants. 

The company created the Energy Mobility Grants program in 2020 and has awarded more than $2 million since then.