Archive for February, 2009
Portland mayor announces clean energy fund
by damian | Uncategorized

Mayor Sam Adams today launched the Portland Clean Energy Fund to provide homeowners low-cost loans for energy efficiency upgrades. The fund has been under discussion for some time, as I reported in a Jan.6 NYTimes Green Inc. post, but now it’s official. The city will start with a pilot project, providing loans to 500 households. The monthly energy savings will appear on homeowners’ utility bills and the associated cost savings will go toward repaying the loans. The program will be expanded to include the entire city by the end of the year, said Adams in his state of the city address to City Club:

“This creates jobs now and keeps money in Portland in the long run. It is a critical part of the City’s Climate Protection Strategy and a great example of how we can reduce carbon emissions while strengthening our local economy. And, it’s a program that adds to our city’s triple bottom line and is working to create long-term, living-wage jobs.”

The mayor also mentioned new initiatives to lower carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050; a $5,000 tax credit to businesses that install solar panels; and a plan to develop new commercial green building standards.

(Audio of the speech is available here)

UO reports $3.3 billion annual cost of climate change inaction
by damian | Uncategorized

Taking a business-as-usual approach to climate change will cost Oregonians at least $3.3 billion a year, or $1,930 per household by 2020, according to a report released today by EcoNorthwest and the University of Oregon Climate Leadership Initiative’s program on climate economics. The report is meant to complement previous studies that calculated the cost of implementing climate change mitigation, such as a proposed cap and trade system under Senate Bill 80 .

Potential costs were divided into seven categories, with public health taking the largest hit at $688 million in additional annual costs by 2020 due to increased ozone levels and rising average temperatures. Energy production will also suffer as a result of the forecasted effects of climate change with a potential reduction in summer runoffs leading to lower hydropower generation at a cost of $74 million a year. Higher temperatures will also require more energy for air conditioning, which could cost an extra $16 million per year and will make electrical transmission less efficient costing $29 million per year by 2020.

Many potential effects are missing from the report, as the authors acknowledge, saying there wasn’t yet enough data to accurately assess the costs. One example that springs to mind is the potential increased compliance costs for utilities that operate dams. With lower river flows, the dams will be much more likely to fall short of maintaining critical salmon habitat.