ENN-5.08 - Establish Goal to Meet 100% of Community-Wide Energy Needs With Renewable Energy by 2050

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WHEREAS, the scientific consensus is clear that human activities are primarily responsible for accelerating global climate change; and

WHEREAS, changes in Oregon’s climate are already being felt, with Oregon’s mean temperature warming by 2.2°F during 1895-2015, and 2015 was the warmest year on record and 2016 was the wettest winter on record; and

WHEREAS, the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute has found that climate change poses a significant threat to Oregon’s forestry, fisheries, water supplies and coastal resources, and impacts that are likely to include winter flooding, summer droughts, loss of shoreline, forest fires, diminished fish and wildlife habitat, retreating glaciers, decreased snowpack, increased disease vectors and invasive species, urban heat islands; and

WHEREAS, the City of Portland’s climate future is expected to be characterized by hotter, drier summers with more high-heat days, and warmer winters with more intense rain events. Oregon’s mean annual temperature is projected to increase by up to 10.7°F by the 2080s if we don’t act; and

WHEREAS, the Oregon Global Warming Commission concluded in its 2017 report to the Legislature that Oregon is not on track to achieve its statutory greenhouse gas reduction goals, specifically to reduce emissions by 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by at least 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050; and

WHEREAS, the entire community will be impacted by climate change, but communities that already face existing socioeconomic and health inequities will be most severely impacted by these risks, which include youth, elders, people of color, and low-income communities, and such communities will therefore require an investment in resilience that is proportionate and accountable to these more severe risks; and

WHEREAS, since time immemorial, Chinook Peoples have called home what we now recognize as the Portland Metropolitan Area. All non-Chinook residents of this land are visitors. We must respect this as Chinook land, and in doing so act as caretakers of its precious resources and act in partnership with tribes who have ceded land and resources across Oregon. Resilience has always characterized the way of life on this land, through and interdependent, intertribal economy that builds balance and fosters thriving land and people; and

WHEREAS, Oregon's nine federally recognized tribal governments have a distinctive legal and political status separate from other sovereigns, including other tribal governments. Additionally, Portland is home to over 45,000 Native Americans, representing close to 400 different tribes. The City of Portland, therefore, has a unique responsibility to consult with, at a minimum, Oregon's nine federally recognized tribal governments and urban Native American communities; and

WHEREAS, the newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Trump are making decisions that are setting climate policy at the national and international level back decades by pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, defunding environmental programs, attempting to reinvigorate the coal industry, greenlighting major pipeline projects (such as Keystone XL and Dakota Access), attacking the Clean Power Plan, and weakening EPA’s commitment to environmental justice; and

WHEREAS, the City of Portland has committed to policies opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure because of the inherent dangers to health and safety in extraction, transport, storage, and combustion of fossil fuels which are exacerbated by the specific seismic profile of this region; and

WHEREAS, the City’s first preference for meeting energy needs remains energy efficiency, as it has been since adoption of the first City Energy Policy in 1979, and the City remains committed to acquiring at a minimum all cost-effective energy efficiency available with a particular focus on achieving energy efficiency in low-income housing; and

WHEREAS, in 1993 Portland was the first city in the United States to adopt a climate action strategy (Resolution 35207), and as of 2014 local per capita carbon emissions had fallen 40 percent and overall emissions were 21 percent below 1990 levels; and

WHEREAS, the economic opportunities presented by a clean energy transition far outweigh the opportunities to expanding the fossil fuel economy; and

WHEREAS, one sector alone, solar energy, accounts for over 300,000 jobs in the United States, and over 4,000 jobs in Oregon; and

WHEREAS, Portland’s history of progressive climate action has helped to create a large and globally competitive low carbon industry and made Portland a net exporter of environmental goods and services; and

WHEREAS, the 2015 Climate Action Plan, adopted by Resolution 37135, found that communities of color and low-income populations have been historically under-served by programs and investments and under-represented in decision making on climate policy; and

WHEREAS, the 2015 Climate Action Plan commits the City to continue to advance policy and programs to reduce local fossil fuel use both in the City’s own operations and through community-wide initiatives; and

WHEREAS, the 2015 Climate Action Plan supports the use of tools and strategies to engage impacted communities, minimize harms and hazards and ensure economic, social, and environmental benefits are shared by low-income populations and communities of color; and

WHEREAS, community-based development of environmental infrastructure, such as the June Key Delta Center and Let Us Build Cully Park! Initiative, is an emerging and underutilized best practice for ensuring that economic, social, and environmental benefits are led and shared by low-income populations and communities of color and warrants further increased private capacity building investments in community facing organizations; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that energy consumers and the utilities serving them take early action to reduce carbon emissions given the accelerating rate climate change the planet is experiencing, and shifting to 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2035 is within reach; and

WHEREAS, achieving these goals will require action at all levels: individual and community, local and state government, businesses and utilities; and

WHEREAS, “renewable energy” includes energy derived from hydrogen, wind power sited in ecologically responsible ways, solar, existing and low-impact hydroelectric, geothermal, biogas (including biogas produced from biomass), and ocean/wave technology sources. These sources of energy can have significant public health and other co-benefits that can help address pressing ecological and environmental justice challenges in sensitive ecosystems and communities in Oregon and around the country; and

WHEREAS, “renewable energy” specifically excludes energy derived from fossil fuels, nuclear, biomass feedstocks sourced from state and federal lands, hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, and incineration of municipal and medical waste; and

WHEREAS, any forest biomass energy project requires special consideration to ensure that ecosystem health is not harmed, that the project does not result in increased life-cycle carbon emissions, and that air quality and fish habitat is not degraded; and

WHEREAS, renewable energy must also be sustainable, both in terms of the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and in the promotion of human health and racial, environmental, and economic justice, and therefore reliance on existing hydroelectric power requires special consideration to reduce negative ecological impacts to biological systems dependent on the affected watersheds; and

WHEREAS, low-income communities and communities of color have historically been left out of environmental and climate policy discussions despite being disproportionately negatively impacted by climate change and often the policy solutions to address climate change; and

WHEREAS, access to the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy must be shared equitably across all economic classes, and this can be achieved through such mechanisms as community-based development of renewable energy infrastructure, equitable pricing structures, community solar programs with low-income communities, and non-profit organization leadership; and

WHEREAS, the renewable energy economy presents opportunities for workers in manufacturing, construction, and service sector and it is essential that workers play a role in helping drive innovation towards cleaner energy economies while creating and maintaining family-sustaining jobs; and

WHEREAS, energy efficiency, rooftop solar, low-income community solar, and demand control technologies offer the opportunity to redistribute resources, address poverty, stimulate new economic activity in the City, and lift up those most impacted by high energy costs; and

WHEREAS the benefits of affordability programs can ease the energy burden on low-income households, fostering equality as a percent of household incomes and preventing disconnections, and thus mitigate the impacts of price spikes and the cost of implementing renewable programs; and

WHEREAS, extending transit service to be less costly, readily accessible to all, use clean fuels, and especially available to low-income neighborhoods, will bring not only significant greenhouse gas reductions but also improve access to employment opportunities; and

WHEREAS, the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure or expanded reliance on fossil fuels in utility resource mixes adversely impacts a renewable energy powered future and creates financial risk to customers through potential stranded assets; and

WHEREAS, energy conservation is critical to reducing fossil fuel demand and increasing green infrastructure such as urban tree canopy, green streets, green roofs and other natural resource focused strategies are effective strategies to reduce energy consumption, urban heat island impacts and address disparities in the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities; and

WHEREAS, the transportation sector accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Multnomah County, and significant reductions in emissions from transportation are essential to achieving the City and County’s climate-protection goals; and

WHEREAS, electrifying car, truck, and bus fleets will bring environmental and economic benefits to Portland residents, including lower cost transportation options for low income households; and

WHEREAS, local educational institutions (high schools, community colleges, universities), community-based job training programs, apprenticeship programs, and on-the-job training providers are well situated to train the professionals who will design, implement, install, retrofit, and maintain the renewable energy infrastructure of the future; and

WHEREAS, distributed solar energy paired with energy storage is an important strategy to build disaster resilience into our communities, and will assist with disaster recovery. Ensuring equitable distribution of these resources is imperative to adequately prepare for disasters, particularly those exacerbated by climate change; and

WHEREAS, youth and future generations will be significantly more impacted by climate disruption than those currently in positions of power. We must recognize that youth will inherit the effects of the bad decisions of the past, have the most to lose from a lack of action in the present, and will spend their lives leading the transition to a truly green and sustainable economy.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the City establishes a goal to meet 100 percent of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2050; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City establishes a goal to meet 100 percent of the community’s electric energy needs through renewable energy resources by 2035; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City opposes the rollback of climate policy at the federal level and affirms its ongoing commitment to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the City's responsibility to meet its proportionate greenhouse gas reductions for the United States under the Paris Climate Agreement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will continue to supply 100 percent of electricity for City operations from renewable energy through a combination of on-site renewable electricity generation, utility-supplied renewables, dedicated off-site renewable resources, and renewable energy credit purchases (REC); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will prioritize renewable resources over the purchase of RECs with the intention of reducing reliance on RECs during the transition to 100 percent renewable resources over time; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will prioritize community-based development of renewable energy infrastructure and will make investments in community facing organizations to build capacity to lead such development to meet 2% of community-wide energy needs (including transportation, heating, and electricity) via such infrastructure by 2035, and 10% by 2050; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will partner with Worksystems, Inc., labor unions, and others to develop training and re-training programs to serve workers who would be displaced by this transition or workers who would otherwise be working in the energy field so that they are well-equipped for the “renewable energy” economy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will prioritize an aspirational goal of 50% utilization rate of minority-owned, women-owned, and emerging small businesses and pursue additional policies and partnerships for workforce equity to include low-income residents in the economic, social, and environmental benefits to be derived from the clean energy transition; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, a renewable energy transition is an opportunity to redress historical inequities in our community and must be just. This means, in part, prioritizing the resources to train and hire people from within communities of color and women that have traditionally been under-represented in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the workforce needed to implement a successful renewable energy transition; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, City projects and procurements under this proposal will use proven policies to ensure the jobs created are high-quality, family-wage jobs that meet our high standards of workforce inclusion for women and communities of color; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will partner with energy utilities to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and minimize dependence on fossil fuels, expressing the City’s preferences for resources consistent with its renewable energy goals and opposition to any new fossil fuel power project; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City urges utility companies to maximize energy efficiency, demand control technologies, energy storage, and renewable energy and avoid any new commitments to ownership of or long-term contracts for electricity derived from fossil-fuel power plants; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will partner with energy utilities and community-based organizations to adopt policies that reduce the cost-burden for low-income customers, and make incentives available to foster equality in energy burdens as a percent of household incomes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City supports accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and the use of electric vehicles to help manage the electrical grid, integrate generation from renewable resources, and improve electric system efficiency and flexibility; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City commits to expanding green infrastructure strategies to reduce energy demand, and limit the impacts of climate change in vulnerable communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City urges the State of Oregon to adopt 100% renewable energy goals and renew and expand renewable energy incentives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City urges the State of Oregon to adopt codes and standards to increase the efficiency and flexibility of buildings and appliances; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will participate in the Public Utility Commission community solar program rulemaking, integrated resource plan processes, and other processes related to renewable energy to advocate for rules that support City goals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City seeks to collaborate with Multnomah County, Metro Regional Government, and Tri-Met to reduce fares for low-income residents while significantly extending service miles and public transit access across City neighborhoods, and complete a rapid transition to an electric fleet; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will work with and advocate for TriMet to transition to electric bus and other renewable energy-powered public transit options as soon as practicable; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Portland will form a Climate Action sub-committee of the Planning and Sustainability Commission that will include but is not limited to Oregon tribes, communities of color, low-income residents, youth representatives, environmental advocates, City bureau representatives, and utility providers to help the PSC and city achieve these goals with special attention on addressing environmental, social, and economic inequities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City will establish a Youth Climate Council to provide regular support and advice to the city in meeting our climate goals through strong, science-based action; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, City impact statements accompanying a resolution or ordinance shall discuss how they contribute to the 100 percent renewable energy goal; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will incorporate strategies to achieve the 100 percent renewable energy goals into the next update to the Climate Action Plan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will report to City Council every two years on progress toward the 100 percent renewable energy goals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this resolution is binding City policy.


Resolution No. 37289, adopted by City Council June 1, 2017.

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