The Portland, Oregon city council, which just recently approved an ambitious plan for an electric vehicle infrastructure, was back at work on the green tech front last week in the form of renewable energy. It approved a resolution challenging its residents to sign up in mass for renewable energy programs with the two local power utilities – Pacific Power and Portland General Electric – during the months of August and September.
Portland, perhaps wanting to establish itself as the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Green Power Community, is making this move in the wake of similar Green Power Challenges being completed in neighboring Oregon communities like Beaverton, Lake Oswego and Hillsboro. Portland looks to want to top them all, calling for a total of 1,000 new sign ups among its residenta with one of the two local utilities, which each maintain their own separate renewable energy programs. Portland’s ultimate goal, even more so than beating out its neighbors, is to perhaps knock current Green Power Community city Santa Clara, California from the top spot on the EPA’s green cities list.
Portland believes itself to already be a leader in clean energy purchasing, buying more than 2.6 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually, which equals nearly 2 percent of Portland’s annual electricity usage for its city facilities. Customers of Pacific Power and Portland General Electric are also already very much into renewable energy purchasing, with the programs from these two utilities consistently ranking in the top five renewable energy programs in the nation and in 2009, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. There are more than 74,000 PGE customers participating in its renewable power programs, while Pacific Power reports more than 39,000 Northwest customers take part in its program.
“I’m incredibly proud that Portland is a city where sustainability is as much a priority for our utilities as it is for our households,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams in a statement. “Having customers and companies support renewable energy delivers very real benefits for our community, from the quality of our environment to the strength of our economy. Portland, and Oregon, win when we take the Green Power Challenge.”