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Clackamas Water Environment Services, Energy Trust of Oregon and Portland General Electric celebrate new co-generation system, renewable energy

Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES) was joined by Energy Trust of Oregon, representatives of the Portland General Electric Renewable Development Fund, state representatives, County Commissioners and other dignitaries on August 11 to celebrate the completion of an innovative biopower upgrade and renewable energy system at WES’ Tri-City Water Resource Recovery Facility in Oregon City.

Part of WES’ Solids Handling Capacity Improvements Project, the new co-generation system produces heat for the facility’s buildings and enough electricity to offset nearly half of the facility’s energy use, benefiting the environment and WES customers.

“We estimate saving about $319,000 on power and $99,500 on heat in the first year,” said WES Capital Program Manager Lynne Chicoine. “As our population grows, the average annual savings are anticipated to be about $619,000 on power and $191,000 on heat over the life of the engine.”

The Tri-City Facility cleans and returns billions of gallons of water to the Willamette River each year. The organic waste, which arrives with the water, is processed in large tanks, called digesters. As the digesters break down organic waste to create natural fertilizer, methane gas is also produced. The new 600-kW lean-burn co-generation engine converts the methane into heat and renewable energy.

“It’s waste that’s going to have to be processed no matter what, but with this configuration, we’re generating our own power and heat,” said WES Operations Manager Greg Eyerly. “It saves money and saves energy, so it’s a huge benefit to the community.”

State Rep. Jeff Reardon, D-Portland, was among the dozens of dignitaries who joined Clackamas County Commissioners Paul Savas and Martha Schrader for the festivities, which included speeches, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour.

“The completion of the solids handling improvements project and the new co-gen system will help move Clackamas County closer to reaching its climate action goals,” said Schrader.

Project benefits include:

  • More local renewable energy
  • Lower energy and heating costs
  • Carbon emissions reduction
  • Improved system efficiency

WES’ new co-generation system was made possible with assistance from Energy Trust of Oregon and the Portland General Electric Renewable Development Fund.

“As our region grows and redevelops, we’ll see more projects like this one in the future to meet the needs of our customers while also increasing our efficiency,” said WES Director Greg Geist. “WES is committed to using value engineering and other practices to keep costs down while ensuring the lowest-risk, state-of-the-art technology is being used.”

"The forward-thinking managers and operators at WES are leading the way toward a clean energy future," said Dave Moldal, Senior Program Manager at Energy Trust of Oregon. "Our community’s ability to persist and thrive depends on facilities like this. We welcome a future where all water treatment facilities are viewed as clean energy power plants and look forward to continuing to support this important work."

The festivities concluded with the unveiling of the Celebrate Watershed Health Art Mural, a core educational and outreach component of the biogas cogeneration system.

The mural, created by local artist David Andersen and his Clackamas Community College students, serves as an iconic visual and physical reminder of the value and importance of protecting watershed health, addressing the challenges of climate change, utilizing renewable energy and the power of a community bound together in a common goal.

About Clackamas Water Environment Services

Clackamas Water Environment Services produces clean water and protects water quality. It’s our job to ensure that residents and visitors enjoy the benefits of safe, healthy water for generations to come.

Learn more at https://www.clackamas.us/wes.

About Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust information, cash incentives and contractor connections help customers use less energy, generate renewable power and protect the environment. We are a mission-based organization collaborating with utilities, nonprofits and government agencies to deliver significant clean energy benefits for Oregon.

Learn more at https://energytrust.org/.

About the PGE Renewable Development Fund

The PGE Renewable Development Fund awards grants for clean energy projects in the community. These are funded by PGE customers who choose Green Future renewable energy programs. Since 1999, PGE customers have supported renewable energy by choosing one of our Green Future℠ options. Their contributions support the Renewable Development Fund, which offers competitive grants for community clean energy projects. Learn more at https://portlandgeneral.com/about/who-we-are/community/renewable-dev-fund.

Department Staff
Todd Loggan