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Portland, OR — October 6, 2004 — The Oregon Zoo and Portland General Electric (PGE) are teaming up to help the environment, fish and wildlife through the use of renewable energy. At the Oregon Zoo today, PGE announced the donation of enough new wind power to offset the electricity usage at the zoo's Steller Cove exhibit for three months. The exhibit, home to sea lions and sea otters, is the largest single consumer of electricity at the institution.
Simultaneously, the zoo announced it will also purchase green power through PGE's Clean Windsm program.
At the exhibit, a 1,000-pound Steller (northern) sea lion, "Gus," symbolically started the flow of renewable power by pushing a large button mounted on the Steller Cove cliffs, as a class of 22 second graders from Portland's Capitol Hill Elementary School cheered.
It was the first of a series of joint efforts between the zoo and PGE to promote renewable energy over the next year. Details of the other efforts will be announced in coming months.
"Our mission is to inspire our community to create a better future for wildlife. Using renewable energy is an important part of that effort," said Tony Vecchio, director of the Oregon Zoo. "We hope Oregon's citizens will support our cause by purchasing green power." Vecchio said that by being almost 100 percent pollution free, renewable power products have very little impact on plants and animals, and pose very few risks to threatened fish like the northwest's salmon and steelhead. He added that green energy eliminates the contribution to global warming and climate change made by conventional power generation. "We're pleased to be served by PGE's nationally recognized renewable program."
Many of the species on exhibit at the zoo, such as polar bears and northwest types of salmon and trout, directly benefit from reduced use of conventional power-generating plants. Others indirectly benefit from improved food supplies and better habitat when electricity customers choose green power.
"Our joint green power purchases are another example of PGE and the zoo's environmental teamwork," said Carol Dillin, PGE vice president of public policy. "PGE's support of the Oregon Zoo goes back almost a quarter of a century. In the coming months, we'll look for additional ways to support the zoo's mission with green power and other resources."
From August through October, PGE is purchasing new wind power equal to Steller Cove's electric usage from the Stateline Wind Facility in southeastern Washington.* That prevents more than 715,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the air — the equivalent of keeping more than 63 cars off the road for one year. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
The zoo's support of renewable energy complements its other earth-friendly initiatives as an "environmental ambassador." Those practices include water conservation, energy efficiency, environmental outreach, recycling, and waste reduction. PGE's decades of zoo support include ongoing presenting sponsorship of the Birds of Prey presentations and a major contribution to Condor Creek Conservation Facility for endangered California condors.
Because these PGE customers signed up for renewable power, an estimated 145 million pounds of carbon dioxide won't go into the air each year.
PGE customers interested in purchasing renewable energy can sign up in person at the Steller Cove exhibit on Sundays during October. Additionally, on Oct. 9, customers who sign up for a renewable option at the zoo will receive a free zoo entry pass valid for one adult or child. PGE customers can also enroll online at www.portlandgeneral.com/renewable, call 503-228-6322 in the Portland area, 800-542-8818 outside of Portland or sign up at many local retailers and neighborhood events.
About the Oregon Zoo
The zoo is a service of Metro. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot butterflies, western pond turtles, Washington pygmy rabbits, and Kincaid's lupine. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland. Additional information is available on the zoo's Web site at http://www.oregonzoo.org or by calling 503-226-1561.
About Portland General Electric
Portland General Electric (PGE) is a recognized leader in the utility industry with 115 years experience delivering safe and reliable electricity. PGE serves more than 750,000 retail customers in northwest Oregon. The company supports the community through a variety of innovative philanthropic, volunteer and environmental stewardship efforts. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory ranks PGE number two in the nation for annual renewable power sales. Visit http://www.PortlandGeneral.com.
*PGE is assuring production of power equivalent to the exhibit's usage because like all electricity, renewable power is dispersed into the western electricity grid and cannot be directed to any one user. The PGE transactions covered the market premium paid for wind power through the purchase of green tags.
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