Tales from the Other Portland

Portland, Oregon, the City of Roses, is indeed an American Beauty. Beyond the thriving music and arts scene, the abundant microbreweries and coffee houses and Powell’s City of Books, there is a first-class sustainable transportation system that’s big on light rail and bicycles. And then there is the city’s strong commitment to clean energy – Portland is now the nation’s largest Green Power Community.

We had the pleasure of experiencing the “Greenest City in America” during the 2010 Renewable Energy Markets conference. Connecticut was not only well represented at the event (we enjoyed connecting with Brian Driscoll of Phoenix Press; Bob Maddox and Kat West of Sterling Planet; Jay Carlis, Tess Barton and Katie Barrett of Community Energy; Jonathan Edwards and Lyn Rosoff of SmartPower; Emily Bjorklund of Viridian and Tim Cole of the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board) but, more significantly, was featured in the proverbial highlight reels throughout the sessions.

The annual Green Power Leadership Awards, hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions, recognize leading organizations and individuals for significant accomplishments in advancing the voluntary markets for clean energy. Phoenix Press Inc., a family owned and operated printer in New Haven, was one of two winners in the On-Site Generation category based on its installation of the state’s first commercial wind turbine and its efforts to promote wind energy. Kohl’s Department Stores and Whole Foods Market, both multiple past winners, were honored in the Green Power Partner of the Year category. The companies have installed solar PV or fuel cells or both in Connecticut facilities using CCEF incentives. Finally, our friends at SmartPower helped Arizona Public Service develop “The Renewables,” a marketing campaign featuring animated clean energy superheroes that was honored in the Best Green Power Education Outreach Program category.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the DOE that serves as the nation’s primary laboratory on renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, issued its annual status report on the more than 850 utility green power programs. For the first time, the CTCleanEnergyOptionssm program achieved “Top 10” status in the categories of sales and customers (7th and 8th place, respectively.) Notably, the Connecticut program achieved this distinction against more mature programs, most of which are located in western states. The CCEF is proud of our work with the Department of Public Utility Control, Community Energy, Sterling Planet, CL&P, United Illuminating, nonprofits such as Clean Water Fund, People’s Action for Clean Energy and the Sierra Club and, of course, our local clean energy task forces in building a nationally ranked green power program.

Finally, the EPA is showcasing Cornwall, Connecticut, in its brochure on the Green Power Communities program. To date, 33 cities and towns in the country have achieved this status, which is based on percentage of support for clean energy compared to the community’s overall electricity usage. Cornwall is the first town in New England to reach the distinction and only the third on the east coast. The CCEF will join with the EPA in celebrating this significant accomplishment at Cornwall Town Hall on November 15. We will call upon the more than 100 Connecticut Clean Energy Communities to step up their support for green power. Need we remind you that the CCEF will provide a bonus kW of solar PV to participating towns that join Cornwall as a national leader? Connecticut has a way to go to catch up with Oregon, which boasts an astounding 18 Green Power Communities. But who doesn’t love a good challenge?

Bob Wall
Director, Energy Market Initiatives

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