main phone: 503-823-4120
Opinion line: 503-823-4127
1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2017
Contact: Michael Cox: 503-823-6593
Julie Sullivan-Springhetti: 503-502-2741
City and County leaders pledge to move to 100 percent renewable energy
City of Portland and Multnomah County leaders vowed today to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The goal is to meet the community's electricity needs from renewable sources by 2035 and shift all remaining energy sources to renewables in the 15 years after. The City of Portland currently powers all of its operations with renewable energy and starting in 2018, Multnomah County will purchase green energy to meet its operational needs.
The announcement places the Portland-metro region alongside 25 other cities that have committed to 100 percent renewables, including Salt Lake City and San Diego. Nearly 90 major U.S. companies have also committed.
“Getting our community to 100 percent renewable energy is a BIG goal,’’ said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “ And while it is absolutely ambitious, it is a goal that we share with Nike, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Google, GM, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. We have a responsibility to lead this effort in Oregon.’’
“This is a pledge to our children’s future,’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunity.’’
Jeremy Clark, 12, said that “The adults in this room- the leaders of Portland and Multnomah County - have great power. But with that great power comes a great responsibility. You have the responsibility of keeping my future bright.
“It gives me a lot of hope that the leaders of my community are promising today to drastically reduce our community’s carbon emissions,’’ Jeremy Clark said. “Keeping our climate sustainable is the most important issue for the success of my generation. So, if you keep your promises made today, then in 20 - 30 years, you can say to your children and grandchildren, “Together, we kept your future bright.”
Getting to 100 percent renewable
Steps in the transition include fostering Portland-area firms that produce low-carbon and environmental goods and services; moving the City of Portland fleet to electric; supporting the City and County work on the Climate Action Plan and resisting federal policy changes that increase carbon emissions.
Portland has been working on climate change since it became the first city in the United States to adopt a carbon reduction strategy in 1993. Since then, per capita carbon emissions have dropped 40 percent and overall emissions 21 percent below 1990 levels. The far-sighted policies of prioritizing climate change has paid off economically. According to a new analysis by the Portland Development Commission, the region has added 47,0000 clean tech jobs. The expanding urban tree canopy and natural areas, and major public works project like the car-free Tillikum Crossing, boost health and livability and make Portland a global destination.
“By making smart investments now we will help protect our community from the impacts of climate change, reduce our emissions, save money, and create economic opportunity,’’ said Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson. “Those are all huge positives for our county.”
Bobby Lee, director of Economic Development at the Portland Development Commission said that Portland has been part of a C40 project with New York, Vancouver, and London to quantify low carbon economies and the results are “unequivocally positive.”
“The analysis clearly shows there is no either/or choice when it comes to climate policy and the economy, ’’ Lee said. “Portland’s climate leadership has created one of its largest sectors and from previous analysis, we know that this sector is rich with middle wage and quality jobs.’’
Mayor Wheeler said he is hoping the goals will spark a much broader partnership from utilities to community members.
“We don’t succeed addressing climate change by government action alone,’’ Mayor Wheeler said. “We need our whole community: government, businesses, organizations and households to work together to make a just transition to a 100% renewable future.’’