Portland, Ore. — Portland General Electric Company (NYSE: POR) recently awarded nearly $1 million in PGE Renewable Development Fund grants to nine local nonprofits to create clean energy projects that will generate 1.4 megawatts of clean power for the region. These grants are part of the Green Future℠ renewable energy program, which helps put more clean, local, renewable energy onto the electric grid.
“On behalf of PGE’s Green Future customers, we’re pleased to award grants to these outstanding organizations and recognize their leadership in advancing clean energy,” said Maria Pope, president and CEO of PGE. “Through our shared commitment and ongoing collaboration, innovative programs like these deliver a clean energy future for all Oregonians.”
This is the 20th anniversary of the fund. Since it was launched in 1999, the fund has contributed about $14 million in grants to help more than 60 community organizations develop local clean energy projects. To date, completed projects have added more than 14 megawatts of clean electricity capacity to our region. Another 3 megawatts from previously approved projects are in development. When those projects and the nine new projects are completed in 2020, the program will have created more than 18 megawatts of clean power capacity, enough to power more than 15,000 homes.
PGE’s Green Future is the most successful renewable power program of its kind in the country, with more than 225,000 customers voluntarily enrolled. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently announced in its 2018 rankings that PGE has the largest participation in a renewables program of any U.S. electric utility for the 10th year in a row.
This year’s grant recipients span PGE’s service area and represent organizations delivering important community benefits in addition to their projects, including affordable housing, mental health services, conservation and education.
City of Newberg: 398 kilowatts of solar capacity will be added to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, offsetting the plant’s electricity use by about 16%. The savings will benefit its customers by reducing the city’s operational costs. The plant also participates in PGE’s Energy Partner demand response program, which pays participants for shifting their energy use when system demand is high, further offsetting operational costs.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing: 54 kilowatts of solar capacity will be installed at Red Rock Creek Commons, a multifamily housing project that will be the first affordable-housing development in Tigard. The system will help stabilize long-term operating costs by powering the common areas.
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District: 70 kilowatts of solar capacity will be added to Headwaters Farm, an incubator program in Gresham that aids the development of new farm businesses by providing affordable access to land and farm resources. The array is expected to cover 100% of the electricity needed to power an existing pole barn and a new shed. The savings will be used to fund programs and classes offered on-site.
LifeWorks NW: 18 kilowatts of solar capacity will be installed on a new clinic in Gresham that will offer mental health, addiction and preventative services to low-to-moderate-income individuals of all ages. The solar array will offset the building’s electricity use by about 10% and will be combined with additional energy efficiency and conservation efforts. The savings will fund additional services for Lifeworks NW’s 26,000 patients in the region, increasing overall community health.
New Day School: 42 kilowatts of solar capacity will be installed at the southeast Portland preschool as part of a net-zero building retrofit. The energy generated will offset power use at two of the three campus buildings. In partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the school also will create an early childhood curriculum about solar energy that will be available to other educators in the region and beyond.
Open Door Churches: 157 kilowatts of solar capacity will be installed at this consortium of five churches in Salem, covering approximately 50% of the buildings’ total electricity use. The churches will be able to generate power even if there are outages nearby, making them a valuable resource to the communities they serve. Savings related to the panels will be used to fund community-based projects that extend beyond the congregation.
REACH Community Development: 33 kilowatts of solar capacity will be installed during a seismic upgrade and rehabilitation project at The Rose Apartments, which was the first permanent affordable housing development for homeless women in Portland. This project supports economic, social and environmental sustainability for extremely low-income renters. Savings will help keep rental rates stable and fund residential programs.
Temple Beth Sholom: 36 kilowatts of solar capacity will be installed on a carport at this religious, social and cultural center in Salem. The panels will cover nearly 100% of the center’s electricity use, and there are plans to add electric vehicle charging at a later date. As a member of the Salem Community Emergency Response Team, the panels will enhance the center’s ability to serve as a community resource by continuing to generate power even if there are outages in the immediate vicinity.
Tri-City Water Resource Recovery Facility: A 600-kilowatt wastewater treatment engine will replace an existing 250-kilowatt engine that no longer meets the demands of the community and has reached the end of its useful life. The new engine will generate electricity from biogas produced from digesters at the Oregon City water recovery site, covering approximately 45% of the facility’s electricity needs. The engine will be equipped with a heat recovery system to provide process heat for the digesters and space heating for the nearby administration building and laboratory. This first-of-its-kind project in Oregon will serve as a proof of concept for comparable projects at similar organizations.
The PGE Renewable Development Fund is supported by customers who choose one of PGE’s Green Future renewable energy programs. The fund offers competitive grant awards for applicants to deploy their own clean energy projects. Grants are awarded through an open and competitive application process and evaluated in accordance with eligibility guidelines, preferred project standards and established evaluation criteria. The next grant cycle will begin in spring of 2020.