Editor’s note: The following blogs and one- to two-minute videos were first posted by the Olympia, Wash.-based energy advocate Climate Solutions. Through the posts, the group aims to demonstrate clean energy success stories from all corners of Oregon. The blogs and videos include looks at Willamette Valley’s Lochmead Dairy Farm, Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles, a Sherman County clean energy program, the Oregon Association of Nurseries and work along the Tualatin River in Washington County. Click through on the links for Climate Solutions’ full blog posts.
Jock and Buzz Gibson are the managers of Lochmead Farm, a fourth-generation family-owned dairy farm in central Oregon. For the past 50 years, the dairy has demonstrated wisdom in thinking local and reducing its carbon footprint in a traditionally greenhouse gas emission-heavy industry.
The depth of their commitment, further developed by Jock’s daughter Stephanie and her cousins, is shown by the long list of forward-thinking business decisions they have made to reduce their impact. Click here to read the full Lochmead Farm story and watch the video below for more on the dairy.
In 2007, the Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) launched the first ever Renewable Energy Technology training program. Initially taking on only 20 students a year, the program aimed to provide a highly trained local workforce to the many wind farms cropping up in the area. The success and impact of the program have been widely recognized, especially by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) that rewarded the program with one of its first three Seals of Approval in January 2011. A video detailing the program is below. Click here to read more about the CGCC's overall energy efforts.
Sherman County, along the Columbia River, is earning millions of dollars through a community-wide investment in wind power to build their rural economy. The county has created a reliable influx of cash to strengthen the local economy through partnerships with the utilities, clean energy project investors, wind producers, and policy support from the Renewable Northwest Project. The county has already reaped more than $17 million in property taxes and wind energy revenue. Click here to read more about Sherman County’s programs
and watch the video below for further Eastern Oregon insights.
Nurseries use energy in a variety of ways including pumping water to irrigate their plants. Climate models suggest that each 1.8 degree in temperature is predicted to increase irrigation demands by 10 percent. This combined with increased competition and volatility in transportation, energy and raw material costs are increasing risks and shrinking margins for nursery businesses. The Oregon Association of Nurseries identified energy efficiency as a smart route to increasing productivity, lowering costs and risk and improving returns on investment for its members. Click here to read the full “Plant Nerds” story.
The video segment on the program is below.
Clean Water Services manages wastewater and stormwater in Washington County. In 2003, the agency made an unorthodox and highly innovative decision that saved their community about $100 million while reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Instead of building an expensive, engineered solution to cool down the heated wastewater they release into the Tualatin River, they invested in restoring riverside habitat along some 50 miles of the river. It got the job done much less expensively with big benefits for wildlife, landowners, and our atmosphere. Check out the video below to learn more about Clean Water Services’ program.