Northwest Renewable News

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Troutdale explores alternative energy to fuel sewer plant January 20, 2010

Filed under: Oregon,Renewable Energy Projects,Renewable/Green Energy — nwrenewablenews @ 12:35 pm
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Troutdale leaders are looking at alternative energy options to save some of the $100,000 the city spends each year to treat wastewater.

Mayor Jim Kight is in talks with Oregon Department of Energy officials and organizations including the Oregon Way Advisory Group about the possibility of funding a $5 million wind-energy program. The tentative plan calls for eight wind turbines to generate electricity to power the city’s wastewater treatment plant north of downtown on the Sandy River.

Ideally, the operation would generate more energy than the plant typically uses, said Troutdale Mayor Jim Kight. In those cases, the city could receive financial credits for excess power the system sends back out to the grid for use by others.

“The council is looking for energy alternatives to help us save money and generate money for the city’s general fund,” he said, noting the options of wind, solar and biomass as possible sources. “We hope to generate (renewable energy) credits.”

Commonly known as “green tags,” renewable energy certificates represent 1 megawatt-hour of electricity generated from an eligible renewable energy resource, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kight envisions a wind-driven version of what the city of Gresham has done with an acre-covering array of solar panels recently installed to fuel its wastewater treatment plant off Sandy Boulevard. The panels are expected to generate on average 8 percent of the plant’s annual electricity usage, or about 400,000 kilowatt-hours.

Through a combination of converted methane gas and 20 percent of wind power purchased from Portland General Electric, 70 percent of the power used by Gresham’s wastewater facility is already considered sustainable.

The city of Troutdale seeks to form a subcommittee to explore the best combination of alternative energy sources.

Once the best energy source is determined, securing funding from available state and federal sources to install the turbines is the next step. In addition to the Oregon Department of Energy, Kight said he’s talked with lawmakers including Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., about eligible funding.

Kight recently presented the city’s proposal to the Oregon Way Advisory Group, an organization that identifies green projects in Oregon that serve as models to other parts of the country and assists with seeking federal competitive grants.

Kight said it might take up to four months to receive feedback on funding possibilities.

“At end of day, if we don’t have money for project,” he noted, “it’s all for naught.”

Shannon Wells, The Outlookhttp://www.theoutlookonline.com/news/story.php?story_id=126395857243514200

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