Corvallis is 'Green' with New Energyby Editors
Corvallis Gazette-Times, May 1, 2006
Yes, we know it's an election year, but we're still pleased that Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Rep. Darlene Hooley are planning to be in Corvallis today to honor our city for taking a leadership role as Oregon's first "Green Power Community" and the nation's third, behind Moab, Utah, and Boulder, Colo.
In November, the city issued a challenge to local residents and businesses: Sign up 15 percent of Corvallis- area power consumers for Pacific Power's Blue Sky renewable energy program by Earth Day on April 22.
At that time, Corvallis already had a respectable 9.5 percent of its customer base signed on, with 2,150 households and 72 businesses receiving power derived from biomass, solar plants and wind "farms" on the Oregon/Washington border, according to city officials.
In the past five months, the city has met its goal of 15 percent population participation by adding almost 2,000 customers to the program.
Getting anyone to change entrenched habits and do something different is no small feat, and the enthusiasm with which local residents have seized on contributing to this program is heartening. Certainly this doesn't mean we can tear down the dams that provide hydroelectric power to the Bonneville Power grid or tell OPEC to keep its oil, but the city has noted some tangible benefits:
For the 100 kilowatt hours of wind power purchased through the program for $1.95 a month, 2,194 tons of carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere during that time. The city of Corvallis noted that its purchase of 750 blocks a month for a year reduces release of carbon dioxide by 900 tons.
More information about this worthwhile -- and optional -- program is available at www.pacificpower.net/bluesky.
Aside from the considerable environmental benefits that the Blue Sky program offers, it's satisfying to take any step that moves us away from traditional energy sources. Now if only we had that option regarding alternative fuels to gasoline, we would be less dismayed as gasoline prices make the jump into the $3 a gallon range.
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