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Hillsboro uses a higher percentage of sustainable power than any other "Green Power Community" in the nation, according to the results of an Environmental Protection Agency competition announced Monday.
The city took first place in one of two categories in the EPA's fourth-annual Green Power Community Challenge because just over 50 percent of its total electricity use comes from green power. That's a far higher share than the second-place town – Brookeville, Md., which came in at just over 40 percent.
Fifty-three communities nationwide competed in the challenge. To qualify, a municipality had to be certified as an EPA "Green Power Community" for meeting the agency's minimum standards for power usage. Green power is electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar or low-impact hydropower.
Hillsboro also took second place in the other category, which ranked communities for their total green power usage. Hillsboro used over 1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power in 2013-14. Only Washington, D.C. used more – almost 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours. But only 12.7 percent of the electricity used in the nation's capital came from green sources, ranking it 21st in the category Hillsboro won.
Portland ranked third in the total usage category, with 610 million kilowatt-hours of green power in 2013-14, and took 33rd in the other ranking – 8 percent of its power is green, according to the EPA.
Beaverton, Gresham, Bend, Salem, Medford, Corvallis, Hood River, Cannon Beach and Milwaukie also competed in the challenge. The rankings are available at the EPA's website.
Hillsboro's use of over 1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power is equal to avoiding the carbon emissions of more than 150,000 passenger vehicles per year, the city said in a news release. It's also enough to power over 98,000 homes per year.
"This is a great achievement for the City of Hillsboro and a testament to our community's commitment to voluntarily seek out ways to become more sustainable," said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey in a written statement. "My family knows the value of green power firsthand from our experience installing solar power panels on our roof, and our purchase of green power through our electricity supplier, Portland General Electric."
-- Luke Hammill