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Portland reaches 100 percent renewable goal for City operations

Combining onsite renewable energy generation, like solar, with the purchase of renewable energy credits, City operations are now powered completely by clean electricity.

The City of Portland will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy for fiscal year 2015-2016. Last year (FY 2014-15), the City got very close, reaching 71 percent, but this is the first year that Portland has met the 100 percent goal.

In 2015, Portland City Council adopted the Sustainable City Government 2030 Environmental Performance Objectives, directing City operations to purchase or generate clean power for 100 percent of electricity needs.

The 2015 Climate Action Plan further calls for 15 percent of the City’s electricity use to be from onsite generation of renewable energy, like solar and biogas. For this current fiscal year, seven percent of the City’s electricity came from onsite renewable energy generation assets.

Thanks to Mayor Charlie Hales’ staunch support of solar for City operations, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has been working steadily to increase the amount of solar electric capacity installed on City facilities. Two new installations currently underway move the City closer to achieving our onsite energy generation goal of 15 percent.

North Police Precinct

Currently under construction and expected to be completed by mid-January 2017, the North Police Precinct station will be topped off with a 63 kilowatt solar electric system, which will produce about 70,000 kWh annually. This translates into a reduction of the power purchased from the electric utility by approximately 6 percent and will save about $6,650 in annual electricity costs.

Funded through a generous grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program, all of the renewable electricity produced onsite will be used by the North Police Precinct building. Savings from the onsite energy production will flow through the operating budget of the Portland Police Bureau, city General Fund and ultimately passed on to taxpayers.

The North Precinct site at NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and NE Killingsworth streets was chosen because of its prominence in the neighborhood and its suitability as a solar system host. The building has excellent access to the sun, a brand new roof and approval from Police Bureau leadership and the facility managers. Further, the project has strong support from the local businesses, schools and neighbors.

Fire Station 1

Last month, the City was selected for funding from Portland General Electric’s Renewable Development Fund grant program to pilot our first solar-plus-storage facility at Fire Station 1. Located at SW Naito Parkway and SW Ash Street, Fire Station 1 is the main incident command post for Portland Fire & Rescue.

This project is intended to increase the resiliency of critical City infrastructure in the event of a prolonged power outage, like the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. Unlike traditional back-up generators that run on fossil fuels, solar plus storage installations are designed to keep critical power loads functioning with a renewable power source (the sun!) for a prolonged period of time. The new system will save $3,300 annually in electricity costs.

As more photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage systems come online, the importance of training first responders how to use these types of systems will continue to grow. The Fire Station 1 installation will help others in the firefighting and emergency response communities learn how to design and use solar-plus-storage installations.

This project would not be possible without the grant from PGE. Energy Trust of Oregon will provide technical assistance with the design and feasibility analysis.

Purchasing Renewables

The remainder of the City’s renewable electricity goal is being met by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs). The City purchases RECs to address the remaining electricity purchased from the utility companies. RECs offset the City’s use of fossil-fuel based power.

RECs represent the environmental, social and non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. They are the accepted legal instrument used to substantiate renewable electricity use claims. 

For fiscal year 2015-16, the City is purchasing 128,383 megawatt-hours (128,383,000 kWh) of renewable electricity use in City operations. That’s enough electricity to power about 1,300 Portland homes for one year!

RECs represent a majority of the City’s renewable electricity portfolio for the time being. However, the City intends to keep adding more onsite renewable energy generation so that over time, the REC portion of our electricity mix will decrease.

Thanks to installations like North Police Precinct and Fire Station 1, and with thanks to Office of Management and Finance, Portland Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Parks and Recreation and Portland Fire and Rescue for purchasing RECs, the City will meet its 100 percent renewable electricity goal for the first time!

December 15th Advisory Committee meeting is postponed

Meeting has been rescheduled to January 26

The December Project Advisory Committee meeting is postponed due to weather and travel conditions. The meeting has been rescheduled to January 26, 2017 with details posted on the project calendar

Press Release: City Council adopts Portland's 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy

The 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy is an update to Portland’s 2010 strategy, Electric Vehicles: The Portland Way.

Portland, ORE. — Yesterday, December 14, Portland’s City Council voted unanimously on a resolution to adopt the City’s 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy. The Strategy provides a road map for achieving Portland’s climate action goals by reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Increasing electric vehicle awareness, expanding access to vehicle options and chargers, electrifying City fleets, and supporting electric vehicle related innovation are among the key tenants of the Strategy.

“We are committed to making it easier for Portland residents to take transit, walk, or bicycle,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “But there are times when people need to drive, and we want it to be convenient and affordable to drive electric vehicles. EVs improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and get us off of dirty and unsafe fossil fuels.”

The 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy can be read at:

Advances Portland's Climate Action Plan

The Electric Vehicle Strategy is a part of Portland’s award-winning Climate Action Plan (CAP), that seeks to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. The CAP prioritizes transportation options that reduce congestion and carbon emissions, like walking, cycling, transit, shared vehicles, and zero emissions vehicles.

Portland’s updated EV Strategy seeks to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles over the next four years with nearly 50 actions to be completed or significantly underway in order to achieve that goal. Going forward, the City will continue to work with local utilities and community-based partners and organizations to facilitate collaboration and implementation of the Strategy.

“Portland has long been a leader in promoting sustainable mobility – from light rail and streetcars to bikes and car sharing. Electrifying these modes is the logical next step toward a cleaner, more affordable transportation system. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the City of Portland to make electric mobility options available for everyone in the city,” said Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Drive Oregon.

Ensures a healthy, connected and equitable city

Reducing barriers and improving access to zero emissions vehicles, particularly for many low-income people and communities of color, is a critical step for creating mobility solutions that are equitable. The City’s Electric Vehicle Strategy includes actions to increase access to electric vehicles options and charging infrastructure, such as a forthcoming electric car-sharing pilot project that will target low-income community members. The City will also explore policy options to require new buildings, especially apartments and condominiums, to be built with cost effective charging infrastructure.

“We strongly support the City of Portland’s efforts to electrify our transportation system,” said Charlie Allcock, Director of Business Development at Portland General Electric. “We will work closely together to ensure that all residents can experience the benefits of this cleaner, cheaper fuel. By electrifying our region’s buses, installing more public charging infrastructure, and working closely with community groups and businesses, we can ensure that access to electric transportation is available to our entire community.”

“Pacific Power supports this effort and looks forward to working with the City to help the citizens of Portland have more clean transportation options available to them,” said Cory Scott, Director of Customer Solutions at Pacific Power.

In addition to achieving several goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan, the 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy also includes actions to research and track new technology to inform investment and policy priorities. As the electric vehicle industry continues to expand, the Strategy will also work toward connecting local electric vehicle businesses and manufacturers with regional and national companies in order to create additional employment opportunities for unemployed and underemployed Portlanders.

Implementation of the 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy will begin in early 2017.


Portland's first electric vehicle strategy, Electric Vehicles: The Portland Way was developed in 2010 to prepare for the launch of the first widely available electric passenger vehicles. The electric vehicle market landscape has changed significantly over the past six years. The 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy is an updated version that establishes the City's current electric vehicle-related priorities and identifies the actions the City will take before the end of 2020 to further the electrification of the transportation sector.

For more information, please visit: