Corvallis has received a 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of its commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.
Corvallis is one of only two U.S. cities to receive the 2010 “Green Power Community of the Year” award in the first year of the leadership recognition program. The other winner for that category is Park City, Utah.
Public Works Director Steve Rogers accepted the award on behalf of the Corvallis community Wednesday evening in Portland at an event held in conjunction with the 2010 Renewable Energy Markets Conference.
In 2001, the City of Corvallis became one of the first municipalities in the country to purchase renewable energy, signing up for 100 kilowatt-hours per month—about 1.5 percent of the organization’s electrical load—through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program.
In 2005, by way of a City Council resolution, the Corvallis local government chose to lead by example by purchasing 7 percent green power for all city-owned facilities and urged its residents and businesses to do the same.
That same year, Corvallis became the first city on the West Coast to receive the EPA’s designation as a Green Power Community.
Oregon State University is the largest single purchaser of green power in Corvallis, partly due to the “green energy” fee that students approved in 2007. The university purchases more than 51 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, accounting for more than half of its overall electricity use.
Adding other Corvallis green power purchasers (Oregon State University, residents and businesses), the community’s total electricity use generated from green power is now more than 100 million kilowatt-hours or nearly 15 percent.
Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and hydrodro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions and are better for the environment than traditional power generation sources.
Green power purchases also support the development of new renewable energy generation sources nationwide.
The City organization’s expenditure on Blue Sky over nearly 10 years has been about $52,000. In addition to these funds going to encouraging the development of clean energy facilities, the city has seen a solid financial return on its investment. Last year, the City received a Pacific Power Blue Sky grant of $78,750 to install a photovoltaic system at Fire Station No. 4. In 2008, Corvallis’s status as a Green Power Community attracted the Energy Trust of Oregon here to launch the state’s first community energy program. During the year-long Corvallis Energy Challenge, the Energy Trust funded energy audits, publicity, sponsorships, solar assessments and public programs. At least half of the $112,000 that the Energy Trust spent on the Challenge went directly to people in the community.
To date, more than 30 cities and towns in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin have partnered with the U.S EPA to collectively buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements. For more information about EPA Green Power Communities, see www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities/index.htm.
For additional information about the 2010 award winners, see www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm.