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Corvallis leads nation in green-power use
Corvallis buys more renewable energy than any other city in the nation, according to an EPA report.
CORVALLIS, Ore. — A report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says Corvallis buys more renewable energy than any other city in the nation.
"There's a broad range of people who are making a commitment to renewables," said Mayor Charlie Tomlinson. "Many people making small contributions can make a big difference."
Locally, consumers and businesses are given the option of spending a bit more each month to buy power produced by wind, solar and biomass, rather than by coal-fired generators.
Corvallis purchases more than 100 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, about 13 percent of the city's total purchased electricity.
According to the EPA, Corvallis' green-power purchase is equivalent to avoiding the carbon-dioxide emissions of more than 13,000 passenger vehicles per year, enough electricity to power more than 9,000 average U.S. homes annually.
Green-power options are offered from sources such as Pacific Power's Blue Sky, Consumers' Power Coffin Butte Landfill Gas project and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
Oregon cities made up half of the nation's top 10 green-power purchasers. Bellingham was second on the list, which also includes Santa Clara and Palo Alto, Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; and River Falls, Wis.
Lacey, in Thurston County, was No. 11.
Oregon State University is the largest single purchaser of green power in Corvallis, buying enough to meet three-fourths of its needs.
"College towns with a university or college that are making a commitment to renewables are that much farther ahead," Tomlinson said.
Companies such as Hewlett-Packard also buy large amounts of renewable energy, which help push Corvallis' total over the top.
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages the purchase of green power to reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation and use.
It includes more than 1,000 organizations that buy billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations, such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized businesses, local, state and federal governments, and colleges and universities.
Tomlinson said his next step is to find a way to keep money spent on green power within the community. That could mean local power generation or options for consumers including green-power purchasing from their city utility bill.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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