Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant First Oregon Facility to be Certified for Thermal Renewable Energy Certificates

Jennifer Kalez, 503-480-9239
Rachel Wray, 503-689-0294

SALEM — The Oregon Department of Energy today announced that the City of Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant is the state’s first facility to be certified as eligible to earn renewable energy certificates for producing thermal energy.

A renewable energy certificate, or REC, is used to certify and track the generation and consumption of renewable energy in Oregon. Tracking RECs helps ensure electric utilities are complying with Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires that at least half the electricity from our largest utilities come from renewable resources by 2040. The Oregon Legislature added thermal energy to the list of eligible resources for RECs in 2016; facilities that produce thermal energy while they generate electricity using biomass can request certification from the Oregon Department of Energy.

The Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant has been working toward net-zero energy use since 2010 and achieved the milestone in 2015, thanks to its renewable energy and energy conservation projects. The projects save Gresham – and therefore its ratepayers – about $500,000 each year. The plant’s fats, oils, and grease waste digesters produce biogas, which is fed into two large cogeneration engines and converted into renewable heat and electricity. A 475-kilowatt solar array also produces renewable power on site. Extra renewable power the plant doesn’t use is sent back to the grid for Portland General Electric’s utility assistance programs.

Generating renewable energy means Gresham is eligible to earn renewable energy certificates – and the treatment plant is the first Oregon facility to earn RECs for producing thermal energy from its co-gen engines.

“We’re excited that Gresham’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is paving the way for facilities that can earn RECs for thermal renewable energy,” said ODOE Director Janine Benner. “Our team is now working with other facilities around the state that may also be eligible for their thermal projects.”

Alan Johnston, City of Gresham Senior Engineer, joined ODOE for its latest Grounded podcast episode to talk more about Gresham’s energy projects. Listen on SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts.

Learn more about Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard on our website.