Portland Named One of America’s Greenest Communities

Portland, OR – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognized the City of Portland as a “Green Power Community,” noting the community’s extensive efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.  Portland is the largest city in the country to receive the designation and is the top-ranked city for using clean, renewable power.

“Thanks to the commitment and cooperation of residents, businesses, and local leaders, Portland is showing that major cities can utilize clean energy on a growing scale,” Merkley said.  “Portlanders are building a model for the nation of how we can efficiently and effectively break our dependence on polluting energy sources.”

In 2001, Portland joined the EPA’s Green Power Partnership as one of its founding members.  According to the EPA, the city’s municipal operations are using nearly 16 million kilowatt-hours of green power, much of which is generated on-site and is enough to meet 10 percent of its needs. Other green power purchasers include the city’s streetcar operations, Lewis & Clark College, the Port of Portland, and the Oregon Convention Center.

Portland’s collective green power purchase of more than 675 million kWh is equivalent to taking nearly 93,000 passenger vehicles per year off the roads.

The EPA also named Corvallis as a “Green Power Community of the Year,” one of only two in the nation.  The city uses 100 million kWh each year, adding up to approximately 15 percent of its total electricity consumption. Oregon State University is the largest single purchaser of green power in Corvallis, using over 51 million kWh of green power to cover more than half of its electricity use.

Oregon’s Intel Corporation is number one voluntary buyer of green power in the nation.  Over the last year, Intel boosted the usage of green power by 10 percent to more than 1.4 billion kWh, equal to more than half of its electric use in the United States.

The Port of Portland has purchased all of its electricity, 75 million kWh, from wind generation.  In addition, the port itself produces 30,000 kWh of solar power through panels installed at Portland International Airport.

According to the EPA, “Green Power Communities” are identified as communities where the local government, businesses, and residents collectively procure green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s purchase requirements. More than 30 cities and towns in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin are green power communities. Collectively they buy more than 900 million kWh of green power annually, equivalent to the CO2 from the electricity use of nearly 80,000 average American homes.

Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydropower. Green power resources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conven­tional power technologies, and produce no net increase of greenhouse gas emissions.