... In Which Hillsboro Leaves the Rest of America Eating Green Dust

Evan Manvel

“My family knows the value of green power firsthand from our experience installing solar power panels on our roof.” - Mayor Willey

When it comes to Oregon’s most pro-environment communities, one might think of Portland, Ashland, or Corvallis.

But in using green power, Hillsboro leaves the rest of Oregon (and America) in the dust.

The news comes via the EPA’s Green Power Community Challenge, which looks at the percentage of a community's power consumed from solar, wind, biogas, biomass, low-impact hydro power, and geothermal. From The Oregonian:

[Hillsboro] took first place... because just over 50 percent of its total electricity use comes from green power. That's a far higher share than the second-place town – Brookeville, Md., which came in at just over 40 percent.

The third-place community – Swarthmore, PA, lags way behind the leaders, at 32.4%. Other Oregon communities are even farther back– Gresham (9.1%), Beaverton (8.3%), Bend (8.3%), Portland (8.0%), Corvallis (6.2%), Hood River (5.9%), Cannon Beach (5.0%), Milwaukie (3.8%), Salem (3.3%), and Medford (3.1%).

My guess is the numbers are significantly driven by Intel and SolarWorld, who I believe buy 100% green power - and a lot of it. (My inquiry to Intel has gone unanswered.) Intel returned my message, noting as a company overall they bought 3,100,000,000 kWh of green power in 2013, and claim to be "the largest voluntary purchaser of green power in the U.S. since 2008". For comparison, the average American household consumes 11,700 kWh/yr.

Not content to let the community and large businesses boost the numbers, Mayor Willey notes his personal commitment as well:

”This is a great achievement for the City of Hillsboro and a testament to our community's commitment to voluntarily seek out ways to become more sustainable,” said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey in a written statement. “My family knows the value of green power firsthand from our experience installing solar power panels on our roof.”

Congrats to Hillsboro. For the rest of us, it's time to catch up!

Note: Burlington, VT claims to use 100% green power, but it apparently has not been part of the EPA's challenge and I can't find the details on whether its 'green power' corresponds with the EPA's requirements.

Disclaimer: These views are mine alone, not those of my employer.

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