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PCEF Committee approves process to allocate additional clean-energy funds

Press Release
Eligible entities can apply for grants between $20 million and $100 million beginning this spring
Published
Updated

Portland, Ore.—On Thursday, March 21, 2024, the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) Committee voted unanimously to approve a process and framework that would allocate additional clean-energy funds to projects that create climate-action solutions and center PCEF priority populations. At least $158 million will be available over the next five years but could be more depending on future fund projections. 

Project eligibility 

Eligible projects will create climate-action solutions that center PCEF priority populations and will be completed by 2029. Projects with physical improvement must be located within the city of Portland.  

Project proposals must fall within one of the funding categories below and complement the priorities identified in the City’s Climate Emergency Workplan and in the PCEF Climate Investment Plan (CIP):  

  • Energy Efficiency 
  • Renewable Energy 
  • Green Infrastructure 
  • Regenerative Agriculture  
  • Transportation Decarbonization 
  • Workforce and Contractor Development 

Who can apply 

  • Community-centered coalitions that preferably include at least one public partner (e.g., local government, public school district, transit agency, redevelopment agency, Federally recognized Indian Tribes, and/or port authority) in addition to any of the following: non-profit community-based organizations, labor organizations, academia, businesses, and/or private utilities that can apply. 
  • Project must result in meaningful and measurable reduction or sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions, except in cases involving the development of workforce or contractor pool focused on climate action.
  • Primary applicant must be a nonprofit or a public entity and have co-applicants or demonstrate support by a community coalition. 
  • At least one nonprofit community-based organization with a minimum of eight years’ experience in conducting community engagement in Portland with PCEF priority populations must be a member of the coalition. 

Application and review process 

Interested applicants will be asked to submit a letter of interest before May 17, 2024. The PCEF Committee and staff will review letters of interest and will invite four to eight full proposals from eligible applicants to continue through the process. Beginning June 1, applicants and their coalitions will complete a full proposal, which will be due July 16. The PCEF Committee will review and evaluate the final proposals and will make their recommendation to City Council on Sept. 2. 

Timeline

  • March 21: Committee recommends proposal process and criteria.  
  • April 4: Release request for proposals.  
  • May 17: Deadline for letters of interest.  
  • May 31: Invite four to eight full proposals. 
  • June 1 to June 30: Application Question-and-Answer and support period. 
  • July 16: Deadline for full proposals. 
  • July 23 to Aug. 13: Application review.  
  • Sept. 2: Committee makes final recommendation to City Council. 

Background

In response to news of unanticipated revenue, Commissioner Carmen Rubio proposed additional climate investments. The unanticipated revenue totaled $540 million that will be available over the next five years. The additional monies came to light as part of the City’s annual revenue projections process led by the City Budget Office.  

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) was directed to continue working with bureaus to identify more projects following the passage of the CIP in September. The goal was to create a list of potential additional climate investments that could be deployed in the event there were more funds above and beyond the $750 million in the CIP.  

Bureaus worked collaboratively to evaluate potential projects based on a range of criteria. Projects recommended to receive a portion of the unanticipated revenue were required to meet and demonstrate the following criteria:  

  • Meaningful and measurable greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction or sequestration impacts.  
  • Demonstrable community benefits.  
  • “Shovel ready”: Projects listed in existing Capital Plans.  
  • “Implementation ready”: Projects with existing program capacity and scope. 

On Feb. 2, 2024, the PCEF Committee recommended that:  

  1. City Council amend the adopted Climate Investment Plan to allocate funding to the 24 strategic programs listed below; and
  2. PCEF staff include mutually-approved metrics, performance measures, eligible expenses, and reporting requirements in the interagency agreements with Bureaus for each of the recommended allocation items: and 
  3. PCEF Committee review and provide feedback of draft interagency agreements prior to execution; and 
  4. A PCEF Committee liaison is included in the annual review of Bureau progress reports alongside PCEF staff to ensure alignment with interagency agreement prior to annual approval of the following fiscal years’ budget; and 
  5. PCEF engage in a 2-year formal public review of performance of recommended allocation items with robust community involvement and where appropriate, site visits; and 
  6. If any PCEF funds are leveraged for allocation item 5, that no City funds can be used for expenses that challenge Tribal nations’ rights or that harm or have the potential to harm salmonids in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process.

Recommended strategic program allocations:

  • Low-income Home Water Leak Repair Program: $2,500,000   
  • Energy Efficiency: Energy Savings Performance Contract & EE at PWB Operations Facility: $1,000,000   
  • Renewable Energy: Micro hydro at Washington Park & Solar assessment and expansion: $2,825,000   
  • Upgrades to critical powerhouse electrical components: $3,500,000   
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Relicensing process costs: $6,000,000   
  • Watershed, Natural Systems, Restoration and Biological Sciences: $17,500,000   
  • Stormwater management, Blue-Green infrastructure, and Revegetation: $53,000,000   
  • Private Property Trees: $7,000,000   
  • Clean energy investments into rehabilitation and preservation of low-income multifamily housing: $40,000,000   
  • Increasing City electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure: $25,000,000   
  • Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall: Roof Replacement and Cooling Tower Replacement Project: $1,000,000   
  • Streetcar Replacement $30,000,000   
  • Active Transportation Operations: $10,000,000   
  • Active Transportation Capital Investment Program: $20,000,000   
  • Community Programming, Education, and Encouragement: $15,000,000   
  • LED Streetlights: $37,000,000   
  • Mt. Scott Community Center Renovation for Resiliency: $6,200,000   
  • Street Tree Protection and Care: $100,000,000   
  • Arborist Trainee Program: $840,000   
  • Transition from Gas Powered Backpack Leaf Blowers to Battery Powered: $1,600,000   
  • Community Based Renewable Energy: $750,000   
  • Decarbonize Transportation: $1,000,000   
  • Eliminating Carbon from Buildings: $600,000   
  • City Operations Decarbonization: $500,000   

Total: $382,815,000  

The process and framework approved by the PCEF Committee today will determine how the remaining funds from the $540 million projection will be granted. 


About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) develops creative and practical solutions to enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places and plan for a resilient future. BPS collaborates with community partners to provide comprehensive land use, neighborhood, district, economic, historic and environmental planning, and urban design; research, policy and technical services to advance green building, energy efficiency and the use of solar and renewable energy, waste prevention, composting and recycling, and a sustainable food system; and policy and actions to address climate change.

About the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund

The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) initiative was passed by 65% of Portland voters in November 2018. It provides a consistent, long-term funding source and oversight structure to ensure that our community's climate action efforts are implemented to support social, economic and environmental benefits for all Portlanders, particularly communities of color and low-income residents. The initiative was supported by a broad coalition of groups and individuals and represents the first environmental initiative in Oregon led by communities of color.