When the Portland area was faced with rising energy costs and outside control of its utility, multiple groups scrambled to find a way to ensure a reliable and local source for the region.

Portland's electric utility remains in private hands. But this doesn't mean that Portlanders haven't pursued localization: through a sustained effort by neighborhood organizations, citizens, and the state and local government, a new program designed to enable citizen-led solar photovoltaic installations has met with great success. 

What are the key factors in shaping Portland's story? 

Consensus building. When Portland attempted to create a public utility, efforts between local and regional governments and citizen groups worked at cross purposes. Efforts to increase small-scale distributed generation have paid off because of a slow and deliberate process that brought many actors and scales on board- and didn't rely on the local utility.

Organization across sectors and scales. Efforts by citizens to start a bulk purchasing program for solar photovoltaic installations was enabled by neighborhood organizations, city technical assistance, advocacy groups, and state policy. 
Robust public participation. Portland doesn't set an example for its citizens- it follows their lead in promoting renewable and local power. Ratepayer advocacy groups have also been instrumental in helping to shape state-level policy that favors renewable energy. 

Read more about Portland's story, and potential lessons for Boulder's energy transition, by clicking the link below (pdf). 
Portland Case Study
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