Portland Oregon Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund

Policy Type Policy
Policy Jurisdiction Local — Portland, OR
Status Passed
Tags Climate Adaptation and Resilience, Climate Finance, Democratization, Energy Democracy

Policy Summary

Funding a clean energy future for frontline communities

Climate change has a disproportionate impact on communities living on the frontlines of climate change including communities of color and people with low incomes. The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund prioritizes these communities for clean energy, green infrastructure, green workforce development and contractor support investments. This will help ensure are most impacted residents are prepared for a changing climate as we move toward our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF) was passed as a ballot initiative in Portland in 2018.

PCEF invests in projects and programs that meet the following priorities:

  1. Clean energy projects, including renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  2. Regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure projects.
  3. Clean energy workforce development and contractor support programs.

Examples of projects include solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades on multifamily housing, new workforce training programs in clean energy manufacturing and installation, shared food gardens, and increased tree canopy in heavily paved neighborhoods.

PCEF is led by a 9-person grant committee made up of diverse Portland residents from specific neighborhoods. Funding is developed from Clean Energy Surcharge on large retailers revenue, not sales tax; however, retailers may pass some charges onto consumers. There are exemptions for basic household groceries and qualified medicines or drugs based on SNAP guidelines; however, many nonfood household goods are not exempt. Guiding principles for the administration of the Fund are: Justice Driven, Accountable, Community Powered, and Focused on Climate Action with Multiple Benefits

The Fund finances programs that meet the following priorities:

  1. Clean energy projects, including renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
  2. Regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure projects.
  3. Clean energy jobs training.
  4. Programs that both reduce greenhouse gases and promote economic, social and environmental benefits.

The PCEF legislative code identifies two “priority populations”:

  1. Priority populations for clean energy, green infrastructure, and regenerative agriculture projects: People with low income and people of color are priority populations for grants that address clean energy, green infrastructure, and regenerative agriculture. Historically, these populations have had less access to the benefits of green investments, and at the same time they are more vulnerable to extreme heat, wildfire smoke, vector borne diseases, flooding and other climate-related impacts.
  2. Priority populations for workforce and contractor development projects: Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people who are chronically underemployed are identified as priority populations for grants that address workforce and contractor development. These populations have not had equitable access to workforce and contractor opportunities associated with the clean economy. Developing a diverse and well-trained workforce and contractor pool in the clean energy field requires reaching these populations and addressing the barriers that have prevented their full participation in this field.

Summary courtesy of: City of Portland

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