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|Articles - June 2013|
|Tuesday, May 28, 2013|
Page 3 of 6
Utilities: The conservation solution
In 2010 more than 120,000 Oregon electric customers chose to pay a little extra on their power bills to support renewable energy. Only Texas, with more than six times the population, signed up more people for so-called green pricing, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. When it comes to cutting carbon and conserving power, Oregon’s electric customers put their money where their mouth is. Governor Kitzhaber’s 10-year Energy Action Plan aims to offset all electrical load growth with conservation, and so far Oregon is on track. That’s thanks in part to laws dating back to 1999 requiring the state’s largest utilities to divert about 5% of revenues to conservation. The Energy Trust of Oregon uses those funds to incentivize weatherization, small-scale renewable power and the purchase of efficient appliances. Since 2002 those efforts have saved 368 megawatts, helping Oregon reduce electricity consumption even as its population grew.
“We’re buying energy through efficiency at 2.5 cents a kilowatt hour, a third of the cost for electricity and less than two-thirds the cost for natural gas,” says Margie Harris, Energy Trust’s executive director. “So we’re getting a very fine deal.”
Additionally, Clean Energy Works Oregon has given homeowners $2.7 million in rebates for about 2,400 residential energy upgrades since 2011. The nonprofit is bringing down energy use in 19 counties by leveraging $20 million in federal stimulus funding.
Oregon also aims to cut the environmental impact of its utilities through renewable portfolio standards. By generating or acquiring electricity from renewable sources equivalent to 16.9% of its Oregon load in 2011, Portland General Electric blew past its 5% RPS target for that year, according to the state’s Public Utility Commission. So did Pacific Power, with 13.5% green generation.
The electricity market is not confined to state borders, though. About 80% of the electricity generated in Oregon comes from hydro plants and other renewable sources, but much of that clean power is exported to utilities meeting renewable portfolio standards in other states. For example, Southern California Edison purchases all the power generated by the 845-megawatt Shepherds Flats wind-energy project in eastern Oregon.
According to the Oregon Department of Energy, 35.5% of the power Oregonians use still comes from coal, and another 16.2% comes from natural gas. Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard will eventually bring those percentages down as the state aims to consume 25% of its power from renewable sources by 2025. But in doing so, it will likely face competition for green energy from other Western states with similar targets.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Floor plans embrace the great wide open.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Thursday, June 18, 2015
While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.
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Tonkon Torp helps seed sustainability at Gunderson.
Oregon-based Environments helps companies create inspired workspaces. “Simply put, we help companies future-proof their workspaces,” says Chris Corrado, president. Since 1988,Environments has witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of business. Native Portlander and Environments founder Corrado says, “We help our clients navigate the complex realities of the workplace today and plan for their future in a very mindful, strategic way. We think of ourselves as their partners in the process.”
One hundred years ago, the Willamette River might easily have been mistaken for a sewer. Unchecked industrial activity and decades of pollution made it unrecognizable compared to the clean river that now flows north for 187 miles from Eugene through the center of Portland.
3 Degrees Event Celebrates 5th Year Bringing Nonprofit and Business Professionals Together to Benefit Portland.
Bend energy leader brings passion for efficiency and renewable energy to the nonprofit.
Event in Forest Grove marks recognition of Global Food Safety Initiative Certification.