PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland and Multnomah County leaders plan to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
The goal, announced Monday, is to provide the community's electricity through renewable resources by 2035, with all other energy resources shifting to renewables by 2050.
"Getting our community to 100 percent renewable energy is a big goal," said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. "While it is absolutely ambitious ... we have a responsibility to lead this effort in Oregon.
Currently, the city of Portland powers its operations with renewable energy and Multnomah County will do the same starting in 2018.
The Portland metro area will join 25 other cities that have committed to 100 percent clean energy, including Salt Lake City and San Diego. Almost 90 major companies in the United States have made the same commitment.
"This is a pledge to our children's future," said County Chairman Deborah Kafoury. "100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunities."
City and county leaders outlined some of the steps they will take in the transition.
- Support Portland-area firms that produce low-carbon and environmental goods and services.
- Move the City of Portland fleet to electric.
- Support the City and County work on the Climate Action Plan.
- Resist federal policy changes that increase carbon emissions.
Wheeler also said he's hoping for collaboration between utilities and community members in the effort.
"We don't succeed addressing climate change by government action alone," Wheeler said. "We need our whole community: government, businesses, organizations and households to work together to make a just transition to a 100 percent renewable future."
Portland was the first city in the country to adopt a carbon reduction strategy in 1993. Since that time, per capita carbon emissions are down 40 percent and overall emissions 21 percent below levels recorded in 1990.
An analysis by the Portland Development Commission said the shift to clean energy has created an economic boost for the area as well, adding 47,000 clean tech jobs to Portland's job market.
Portland is also part of a C40 project with New York, Vancouver and London. The purpose of the project is to quantify low carbon economies. Bobby Lee, director of Economic Development at the Portland Development Commission, said the results have shown a positive link between clean energy and job growth.
"By making smart investments now, we will help protect our community from the impacts of climate change, reduce our emissions, save money, and create economic opportunity," said County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson. "Those are all huge positives for our county."
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