Today, Environment Oregon announced five Oregon residents as leading voices for clean energy. The Oregonians are profiled in a national project, Voices for 100% Renewable Energy, featuring photos, testimonials, and videos from a wide array of individuals from across America – from academics, to mayors and other public officials, to community leaders, to business and non-profit leaders – embracing a massive transition to clean energy.
Oregonians featured in the in the project include U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley; Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler; University of Oregon student Andrew Dunn; Leah Parks, the editor of ElectricityPolicy.com and the co-author of “All-Electric America”; and Ted Brekken, an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oregon State University.
“We’re inspired by people like Senator Merkley, Andrew, and Leah who know we can, and must, shift to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director with Environment America. “We’re thrilled to share some of their stories through this project. Our hope is that it will motivate the many folks who know we need a swift, steady, and complete transition from dirty to clean energy to lean into the effort.”
The people featured in the project cited a range of environmental, economic, equity, social, and health benefits from the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Most focused on the urgent need to eliminate climate-altering carbon pollution. Others simply believe that it’s common sense and good economics to save energy and to harness unlimited, pollution-free energy sources.
The city of Portland is committed to sourcing all of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2050. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says, “Our adopted policy for a Just Transition to 100% renewable energy is the longest resolution ever adopted in the history of the city, but I think it is worthy of that title. We have detailed how and why we will focus on more energy efficiency, demand control, community-based renewable energy, job training, transit expansion, electric buses, minority and women-owned business participation, and climate justice measures such as rate protections, low transit fares, and job training for low-income residents that will be disproportionately affected by climate change and the transition to a new green economy. We're taking big and deliberate steps, investments, and policy changes in order for this swift and Just Transition to 100% renewable energy in every sector to become a reality. I'm committed to making it happen."
In 2017, Senator Jeff Merkley introduced landmark climate legislation to the United States Senate that would move America to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. “Many will say that achieving a 100 percent clean and renewable nation cannot be done,” says Congressman Merkley. “Yet what we know from the science is that we no longer have time to take small steps. We need to take a “giant leap” for humankind right now. It’s time to aim for 100 percent by ’50—using every tool we’ve got, both at the local and national level.”
Student activist Andrew Dunn joins the movement toward 100 percent renewable energy. “Student voices around the country have initiated significant change at our universities and in our communities. Continuing to advocate for the sustainability that is necessary will broaden coalitions from our campuses to across the country,” Dunn says.
Leah Parks and her co-author David Freeman wrote “All-Electric America,” a book which explains how America can transition to a system of all-renewable energy. Parks says, “Since writing our book I have become more optimistic and inspired by the 21st-century energy transformation that is in fact already underway. Our digital revolution is facilitating exponential growth in clean technologies that is leading to massive technological improvements, cost reductions, and deployment faster than most could have dreamed of.”
Dr. Ted Brekken says, “Making the transition to renewable energy has numerous economic, environmental, and societal benefits. Cleaner air and a cleaner environment will decrease health costs. Energy security will improve resilience and decrease drivers for resource-driven conflicts. The distributed nature of many forms of renewable energy may drive a community-based energy economy.”
“For years, we’ve been told that pollution from dirty fuels was the price we had to pay for progress,” said Anna Hofmann, a clean energy associate working with Environment Oregon. “Those days are over. My confidence that we can make the shift to clean renewable energy has been boosted by the conversations I’ve had with so many people we’ve profiled in the Voices for 100% Renewable project.”
To view Voices for 100% Renewable Energy, go to www.100percentrenewable.org.