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Portland, OR

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Until 2035 all of Portlands electricity shall be generated by renewable energies.

By 2050 all of Portlands energy including transportation, industry and current natural gas applications will run on 100% renewable energies.

This is what decision making looks like in Portland, Oregon.

The commitments were announced on June 1st 2017, the same day as the U.S. President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement.
Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland comments:

“In the middle of one of the hardest weeks in the city’s history, we were able to do something great… As my colleagues have noted, it’s happening on the same day that the United States is effectively turning its back on the rest of the world…This will serve as a beacon of hope.”

The mayor thanks and acknowledges Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp and Northwest Natural for their willingness to work with the city towards the 100 percent renewables goal [1].

Despite initial concerns over patchy supply the utility plan has been changed from natural gas strategies towards more hydroelectricity, which pleased environmentalists and ratepayer groups. Still, it is not clear which path will lead Portland to 100% renewable energies, but Deane Funk, a local government affairs manager for PGE believes that a flexible plan will be efficient when they continue to adapt and as technology advances[2].

In practice the resolution is a long and detailed document but some unusual steps are also made, specifically to include the community:

A Christmas tree of commitments, which encompasses subjects to enhance:

  • energy efficiency
  • demand control
  • community-based renewable energy
  • job training, transit expansion
  • electric buses
  • minority- and women-owned business participation

The plan goes on to include climate justice measures such as rate protections, low transit fares and job training for low-income residents that could be disproportionately affected by climate change and the transition to clean power.

Interested community members can also find information on the website of the Oregon government that provides links to studies on the potential of renewable energies in Oregon [3].

The state of Oregon has pledged to reduce greenhouse gases state- wide. The goal is to reduce emissions by 10 percent by 2020 and at least 75% with the 1990 levels being the benchmark. Unfortunately the commitments are not being met so far, therefore initiatives such as towns switching to 100% renewable energies are specifically important [1].

After weeks of writing and formulating the resolutions, it was still a coincidence that the resolution statement was made that very day. Many contributors and supporters see it as a clear stand for the international agreement, despite regression on a national level.


For more information:

[1] http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/06/portland_multnomah_county_set.html

[2] http://www.rnp.org/

[3] http://www.oregon.gov/energy/RENEW/pages/index.aspx

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General Details

Timeline: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Project Features

Scope of engagement
yes Local/regional
Quality of the objectives
yes Intermediate objectives
Binding effect of the objectives
yes 100% REobjective is used without official decision