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That old Irish blessing has taken on new meaning at THPRD following the park district’s decision, in January 2015, to participate in Portland General Electric’s Clean Wind program at the platinum (highest) level.
“Our commitment to Clean Wind is the latest in a series of efforts we’ve undertaken to use renewable resources and be more sustainable in our operations,” said Seth Reeser, operations analysis manager.
The upshot of the deal is that all of the electricity the district uses will be “green power”; that is, it will be supplied by the same source that feels good on our faces on a sweaty summer day.
The park district will pay a premium of 3/10ths of 1 cent per kilowatt hour, and PGE will in turn provide the district’s electricity exclusively from wind farms.
Wind farms? If you’ve driven the eastern part of the Columbia River Gorge, you’ve probably noticed towering white poles with propeller-like blades spinning gracefully in the breeze. Each farm typically includes hundreds of the turbines.
Much of THPRD’s electricity will come from PGE’s wholly owned and operated Biglow Canyon Wind Farm. The site sprawls across 25,000 acres near Wasco in Sherman County.
The park district consumes about 7.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, so participation in the program at the platinum level will cost more than $22,000 per year.
Katherine Stokke, THPRD operations analyst, maintains that the benefits of Clean Wind and other renewable energy resources are worth the ongoing expense.
“It helps lower our greenhouse gas emissions, supports local economies, and demonstrates that we are forward-thinking in our operations,” she said.
According to PGE, THPRD is only the third public agency participating in Clean Wind at the platinum level. The others are the City of Beaverton and City of Milwaukie.