PORTLAND — The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has released the recommended portfolio for Request for Proposals (RFP) #2 of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF), which consists of 66 grants totaling nearly $111 million.
PCEF received 162 proposals for projects in response to its second RFP, which opened for application in September 2021. Each application was scored on 10 to 21 criteria based on the type of project being proposed. Low-scoring applications were removed from consideration and the remaining applications were subject to a financial review of the applicant organization. Projects requesting more than $100,000 were subject to an additional vetting process to address potential performance and financial-management risk. Applications were flagged for additional review if they requested a large amount of funding relative to the organization’s prior budgets, if there were questions about their proposed budget, and/or if the organization is fewer than three years old.
“BPS was given the tremendous honor and responsibility to take a voter-led initiative and create a transparent, accountable, and impactful program,” said BPS Director Donnie Oliveira. “We are extremely proud of the work done to implement the PCEF program and are proud of PCEF staff for their commitment to honoring the intent of the voters and making meaningful change here in our community.”
Implementation project proposals were scored by three-member panels which included a PCEF staff person, a PCEF Committee member, and a subject-matter expert. Planning grants were also reviewed by a community member. Applications were ranked within PCEF funding areas: clean energy, workforce and contractor development, regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure, and innovation/other, as well as a planning grant category.
“The Portland Clean Energy Benefits Fund — PCEF — has worked hard to get to this point: the first major release of PCEF funds to community to reduce carbon and build climate resiliency,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who oversees BPS and PCEF. “I want to thank staff for acting on our growth areas and lessons learned with seriousness and diligence as we get this new, first-of-its-kind program off the ground. I am committed to seeing that the Fund functions with unparalleled accountability, responsibility and transparency.
“PCEF, together with the City’s upcoming Climate Emergency Workplan, is how we are taking accelerated, aggressive climate action rooted in racial and economic justice, and making meaningful strides toward building a prosperous and resilient Portland. It’s important we get it right — as we act with expediency in the face of climate change.”
RFP #2 recommended-portfolio highlights
The PCEF Committee held public meetings on May 26 and June 2 to discuss the proposed portfolio and arrive at their funding recommendation. The recommended portfolio consists of 66 grants totaling $110,695,441 in funding and includes 16 planning and 50 implementation grants. All 66 grants meet PCEF objectives to address climate change and to advance racial and social justice in the city of Portland.
RFP #2 recommended-portfolio quick facts
- The estimated lifetime reduction in GHG emissions for projects in the clean energy and innovation funding categories is approximately 300,000 metric tons, yielding an average cost of approximately $227/metric ton CO2e.
- Clean energy projects include energy-efficiency and renewable-energy improvements to single- and multi-family homes, and commercial properties with an emphasis on deep-energy retrofits.
- Regenerative agriculture and green-infrastructure projects include gardening, food production, and food sovereignty.
- Workforce development projects will train both existing and new workers in green technologies and practices.
- Contractor support projects will resource and credential disadvantaged contractors to pivot towards green-contracting opportunities.
“It’s exciting to see the growth in PCEF as a program, in the scope of projects we’re able to fund, and in the organizations who are using this money on long overdue climate, racial and social justice projects,” said PCEF Program Manager Sam Baraso. “PCEF is creating a blueprint for how communities can address climate, racial, and social justice. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to continuing our important work and setting an example for the rest of the country.”
RFP #2 Allocation request
The PCEF Committee recommends City Council authorize $110,695,441 to fund the recommended portfolio for RFP #2. The Committee will also recommend a decrease from $400,000 to a $200,000 annual allocation for the PCEF Mini Grant program. The reduced ask allows PCEF staff to right-size funding amounts to match applicant demand and staff capacity. RFP funding recommendations also include a 10% grant contingency set-aside as a standard of practice.
Total requested funding authorization
|RFP #2 grant funds||$110,695,441|
|10% grant contingency set-aside||$11,069,544|
|Mini-grants program authorization||$200,000|
The recommended portfolio will be presented to Council on Wednesday, July 13 at a first reading. Portlanders can testify to City Council in writing or in person.
Testify in writing
Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing (but ideally the day before) and must include name and address.
Through the Map App
Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email and easier than U.S. Mail.
Via U.S. Mail
Send mail to:
PCEF Round 2 RFP recommended portfolio
1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 130
Portland, OR 97204
Testify at City Council
The July 13 hearing will be a hybrid meeting, and community members may testify in person, by phone or video conference. Visit the Council event page to learn more about how to sign up to testify.
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.