Report highlights clean energy might of small cities

Eugene was among the communities highlighted in a report about small-city strides in clean energy.

Eugene was among the communities highlighted in a report about small-city strides in clean energy. 

A report released Wednesday by the nonprofit Climate Solutions' New Energy Cities program highlights the clean energy work going on in cities with populations under 250,000, finding innovation in some unlikely places.

The work of three Oregon cities — Eugene, Hillsboro and Pendleton — was featured in the report and Corvallis was named as a city to watch.

The report, it's full title is "Powering the New Energy Future From the Ground up: Profiles in City-Led Energy Innovation," (available for download here) noted some trends among the 22 cities it profiled in the report:

  • Cities are going beyond regulation to find ways to clean up transportation, modernize waste management, improve energy efficiency and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Cities are working with utilities, nonprofits and other community organizations to achieve these goals.
  • Federal funding, dispersed starting in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, made a big impact on clean energy innovation.
  • Cities are developing long-term programs that will exist after federal funding evaporates.

The report also found that job creation and economic development was a key motivator for small cities to focus on clean energy.

Eugene was lauded for its Community Climate and Energy Action Plan and the Eugene Water & Electric Board, the local, customer-owned utility, was highlighted for its work on energy conservation. The report states that Eugene also stands out for its community engagement and its transportation planning.

Hillsboro received recognition for its solar energy programs and the fact that the city, population 91,611, gets 36 of its power from green sources. A solar-panel-buying partnership with Live Light Energy, SolarWorld USA and the city, called Hillsboro Solar Advantage, was also featured.

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