Clatsop County and North Coast cities are joining with Pacific Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program to boost the region’s commitment to renewable energy. The county aims to become the first county in Oregon and only the second in the United States to gain special recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency as an EPA Green Power County.
The North Coast Blue Sky Challenge began March 22 with a proclamation from the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners. With approval from the Seaside City Council May 9, the effort can officially go forward.
Blue Sky is a voluntary program that provides customers the opportunity to support newly developed renewable energy now and help build a larger market for renewable energy. For details go to www.pacificpower.net/northcoast.
“Our goal is to increase local participation in Blue Sky by 30 percent by year end when the challenge concludes,” said Scott Lee, board chair. “It will be an unprecedented effort showing the cooperation between city and county governments to inspire our citizens to step up their commitment to renewable energy.”
The city governments of Astoria, Cannon Beach, Gearhart, Seaside and Warrenton have all signed on to the effort in addition to Clatsop County. All partners, plus Pacific Power Blue Sky, will engaging with North Coast residents, promoting the benefits of cleaner energy and how each of us can support more renewables by joining the effort.
Advertising, bill inserts and staffing booths at local events will all help spread the word. Blue Sky will also be sending representatives into North Coast neighborhoods with customized proposals telling Pacific Power customers how they personally can support more renewables at a low cost to them.
“It is remarkable to have this level of cooperation on anything,” said Alisa Dunlap, regional business manager for Pacific Power. “Not only are the local governments behind this effort, but so are local business organizations. Residents are revving up their own enthusiasm as well.”
North Coast businesses from Astoria Vintage Hardware to Zingers Ice Cream in Seaside have been part of Blue Sky for years. Blue Sky funding award, backed by the money Blue Sky customers pay to support renewable energy, also has helped fund the innovative hydropower project that generates electricity via mini turbines located inside the pipes supplying water to Astoria.
Since 2006, Pacific Power’s Blue Sky customers have invested nearly $10 million in in more than 100 renewable energy projects in the Northwest.
The challenge will make Blue Sky an even more important part of everyday life in the North Coast area. Upon meeting the challenge goal, Blue Sky will provide a 1-kilowatt solar array to the North Coast community. Details of the installation will be determined later in the year.
Already, more than 1,670 North Coast residents and businesses support renewable energy through the Blue Sky program. The challenge aims to add more than 500 residential and business customers to that total by the end of 2017.