National Preparedness Month: Older adults take control in 1, 2, 3
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the extreme weather events and emergencies we face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, depend on electricity for medical needs, or live in rural areas.Find Out More
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.Find Out More
Planning for a Future of Reliable, Affordable, Environmentally Responsible Energy
The challenges revealed by Eugene Water & Electric Board’s integrated resource planning process mirror those facing the Northwest.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
EWEB’s heat driven call to conserve energy yields major savings
EWEB is likely to implement similar, formalized “demand response” programs in the future.Find Out More
Please join your neighbors in reducing energy use today
With excessive temperatures and wildfire conditions affecting power generation across the region, EWEB is encouraging customers to safely conserve power.Find Out More
Stay cool during extreme heat events
With temperatures forecasted to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, we've prepared some tips and tricks to help you stay cool.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet our servant leader and maker of tough decisions
Karen Kelley, Chief Operations Officer at EWEB, describes herself as a "servant leader," offering support and mentoring to four division managers at EWEB.Find Out More
Planning for a Reliable, Affordable, Green Energy Future
EWEB General Manager Frank Lawson publishes an op-ed in the Eugene Weekly about EWEB's IRP.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
Substations – The resilient spine of EWEB’s electric system
The substation redundancy ensures reliable power continues to flow to homes and businesses despite unexpected equipment failures and routine maintenance.Find Out More
EWEB charts energy supply choices for next 2-3 years
After 18 months of study to assess Eugene’s future electricity needs, EWEB has identified next steps to pursue in the next two to three years.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet the water quality specialist who ensures the safety of Eugene's drinking water
Brenda Casarez began working at EWEB in 2009, collecting samples from all over the water system testing for different contaminants.Find Out More
EWEB will close College Hill Reservoir site for Fourth of July
EWEB will continue the annual closure of its College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday. For the past several years, EWEB has restricted access to the reservoir surface around the Fourth of July to ensure people do not set off fireworks which can damage the roof and potentially impact drinking water quality.Find Out More
EWEB and City finalize sale of former riverfront headquarters
The two buildings on 4.4 acres will transformed into Eugene's new City Hall. EWEB and the City signed closing documents and officially handed over the site keys on Tuesday.Find Out More
- Show More
New Carbon Offsets Programs Will Help Community Collaborate on Climate Solutions
November 10, 2021
Slowing down the effects of climate change is all about reducing greenhouse gas emissions that come from power generation, transportation, energy use in buildings, and waste. EWEB is committed to doing our part, which includes meeting our community's electricity needs with affordable, low-carbon sources.
Fortunately, the abundant rivers and legacy hydropower projects of the Pacific Northwest help EWEB to maintain an electricity portfolio that is 90% carbon-free.
To further support community-wide carbon reductions, EWEB's rebate and loan programs help customers cut their energy use and transition from gas to clean, electric-powered vehicles. And our GreenPower program allows customers to support renewable energy projects by voluntarily paying an extra penny per-kilowatt-hour of consumption. GreenPower subscribers fund local solar power installations and sponsor grants to help local schools, non-profits and public agencies with projects aimed at creating a better, clean environment.
Our Greenpower program has awarded more than $1 million to local renewable energy and GHG reduction projects. Most recently, EWEB awarded $50,000 grants to Eugene Mission for installation of a solar energy system and to Friends of Trees to to fund a large-scale volunteer tree planting event in west Eugene.
In the next year, EWEB will build on GreenPower with a series of new environmental programs that help our customers offset their carbon footprint. EWEB Business Line Manager Anna Wade is excited to make these available soon - and has some updates to share about what's coming up.
Q: What inspires you to work on EWEB's upcoming environmental programs?
A: The climate is in crisis! I do my part with the easy stuff like shopping local, bike commuting, earth conscious consumerism, and Community Supported Agriculture, but it just doesn't feel like enough. Being able to develop and offer new programs in support of the environment enables me to pull my weight and invite EWEB customers to do the same! And I love the opportunity to focus on the kinds of initiatives that our customers are passionate about. Environmental stewardship is a shared core value for EWEB and our community.
Q: What are some of the programs you're developing for EWEB customers?
A: Over the next year two years, EWEB will be expanding options for voluntary, customer-facing programs. Each of these will be iterative and responsive to our customers' priorities as expressed through participation and engagement with the utility. Initial roll-out will include three new options:
- Bulk purchases of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC),
- Carbon offsets,
- and a carbon forestry project in the McKenzie watershed.
The new REC and Carbon Offset programs create more options for customers to address their own carbon footprint and support renewable energy. And customers looking to support water source protection and watershed stewardship will have something more fitting to their values than the investment in local solar installations which are the hallmark of EWEB's GreenPower program. Over time, we will expand on these programs and add additional options for voluntary direct action to reduce energy use during periods of high demand when power market prices are elevated and the carbon intensity of EWEB's power resources are highest.
Q: Why is EWEB interested in carbon offsets?
A: The GreenPower program enables customers to invest in local solar installations, non-profits, schools and to have RECs retired on their behalf. But this may not be the best fit for larger energy consumers, especially those that don't qualify for the programs that GreenPower funds. Additionally, RECs are not an effective way to offset carbon beyond a customers' energy consumption. Purchasing carbon offsets can address other aspects of carbon footprints such as transportation, food consumption, or waste. Expanding options for both will allow EWEB customers to invest in carbon mitigation in a way that makes the most sense for them individually.
Q: Tell us more about the collaboration between EWEB and UO relating to carbon forestry.
A: EWEB is very interested in the future of carbon forestry as a means to go beyond carbon reduction and develop the science and understanding of how to maximize carbon drawdown in the atmosphere. Given that EWEB is both an Electric and Water utility, we are particularly excited about the dual benefits of watershed stewardship and source protection that these projects can offer. The collaboration with the University of Oregon Soil, Plant, and Atmosphere Lab accomplishes all of this, but it's also an investment in human capital. UO graduate students working on this project will help design the future of carbon sequestration techniques.
EWEB is really excited about this project, and we think our customers will be too! By inviting our customers to voluntarily contribute to this effort, we can stretch the available dollars to cover more areas throughout the watershed. Customers can take pride in knowing that they are contributing to protecting our beautiful McKenzie River with strategic plantings that will enhance natural habitats, sequester carbon, and develop best practices for carbon forestry. In the future, we hope to make these locally-generated carbon offsets available for purchase under the carbon offset program.
Q: That will be great to be able to invest in carbon offsets on projects that benefit our community and local environment! To make our energy consumption less carbon-intensive, we often remind our customers about "peak" electricity demand, and encourage them to reduce their energy use during peak. Why is understanding peak electricity demand so important?
A: For decades, EWEB has partnered with our customers to invest in energy efficiency. As we all know, the cleanest energy is that which is never used in the first place! But as the industry changes and more and more energy is produced from intermittent renewable sources, "When Matters," even more than how much we use overall. For example, peak demand is highest in our area before and after work, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. When people are home, showering, preparing meals, using their appliances, etc., our interconnected grid must sometimes burn greenhouse gasses to generate enough electricity to meet demand. That's why it's important to understand peak demand and adjust our habits accordingly, like running the dishwasher or clothes drier during off-peak hours.
Especially as EWEB rolls out new programs in support of Electric Vehicles and charging infrastructure, it will be important that we work together to manage the transition through charging those EVs overnight when energy is more abundant, cheaper and with a lower carbon intensity.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with these new energy efficiency and carbon offset programs?
A: Providing access to these products is certainly important so that we can increase investment in renewable energy and natural climate solutions. But I think it's equally important that we learn and grow together as these markets begin to mature and become more a part of the civic landscape. The climate crisis is a pressing issue, but I think we struggle as a society to work collaboratively on solutions. Building a shared knowledge base is an important first step in the right direction.
Q: When can people expect these programs to be available, and how can they sign up?
A: In the coming months we will be sharing more about the pricing and other particulars of these programs. We are tentatively targeting Earth Day 2022 for our initial program roll out. Stay tuned!