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A national nonprofit awarded Energy Trust of Oregon with a 2014 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award for its work with the City of Gresham on a wastewater treatment plant.


The Clean Energy States Alliance, a coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance the adoption of clean energy technologies, announced the award Monday, Nov. 17.

The award recognizes the nonprofit organization for its technical assistance, project development support and more than $1 million in cash incentives to the City of Gresham for renewable energy production and energy-efficiency investments. In addition, the Oregon Department of Energy contributed funding and an initial feasibility study for the City. The long-term assistance will help the plant become the first wastewater treatment plant in the Pacific Northwest to achieve net-zero energy consumption.

“The Gresham wastewater treatment plant’s comprehensive renewable energy and energy-efficiency approach is paving the way for wastewater treatment plants in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation,” said Margie Harris, executive director, Energy Trust. “We are pleased to have worked with the city’s dedicated energy management team, and to gather lessons learned from this experience to further help municipal managers, engineers and operators crafting clean energy plans for our state’s wastewater treatment plants.”

By early 2015, the Gresham wastewater treatment plant will generate all the electricity it needs each year from onsite renewable energy resources. The plant is achieving this goal through the use of two, 395-kilowatt co-generation engines fueled by biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids; a 420-kilowatt ground mount solar electric system; and increased production of biogas from the co-digestion of fats, oils and grease received from area restaurants and food processers. The facility rounded out its net-zero efforts with multiple energy-efficiency investments.

“We are proud of our success at Gresham’s wastewater treatment plant,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “Through continual improvements to the system over the past 10 years, we have simultaneously saved our ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and made our operations more environmentally friendly. The contributions of partners like Energy Trust helped make Gresham’s success a reality and we congratulate them on this award.”

Energy Trust was one of eight programs nationwide presented with an award during CESA’s national awards dinner on Nov. 17 in Annapolis, Md. The awards highlight model programs and projects that have accelerated the adoption of clean energy technologies. Award recipients were chosen by an independent panel of five distinguished judges for programs demonstrating public benefits and results, cost effectiveness, leadership and innovation, and replicability.

A case study with more information about Energy Trust and the City of Gresham wastewater treatment plant is available at www.cesa.org/assets/2014-Files/SLICE-2014/CESA-SLICE-2014-Report.pdf. In addition, CESA will host a free webinar in January 2015 featuring speakers from Energy Trust and the City of Gresham. More information and registration details are available online at www.cesa.org/projects/state-leadership-in-clean-energy/2014/.

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