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Portland utilities score high in renewable energy

Portland’s two large electric utilities are among the tops in the nation for renewable energy sales for big privately owned companies.

According to a new study of the nation’s 32-largest investor-owned electric utilities, Portland’s largest electric utility, Portland General Electric, has the seventh-highest share of renewable energy sales — 7.5 percent of sales.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which includes Pacific Power, ranks sixth-highest, at 12.7 percent of sales.

The data comes from Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2014, a report by Ceres Inc. and Clean Edge Inc., a Portland-based research firm. The report’s numbers only include small-scale hydro, so they may understate the renewable energy sold by the two utilities from large hydro dams.

PGE ranks seventh among the big private utilities in cutting electricity usage via energy efficiency measures, amounting to 10.3 percent of its total sales. Berkshire ranks 13th-highest, shaving 6.7 percent of its electricity output via energy efficiency measures.

Based on new energy efficiency measures in 2012, PGE ranked third-highest in the nation, and Berkshire ranked 16th-highest.

PGE ranks second-highest among its peers in installing “smart meters,” which can help promote renewable energy. PGE has installed smart meters for 99.9 percent of its retail customers, though it’s having to replace many of those due to technical glitches. Berkshire is among the five utility companies on the list that has yet to install any smart meters.

PGE happens to be the smallest among the group in sales, ranking as the 32nd-largest privately owned electric utility company in the nation, ranked by 2012 retail electric sales. Berkshire Hathaway Energy ranks ninth-largest. It’s made up of Portland-based PacifiCorp, which includes Pacific Power and operates in six states, and MidAmerican Energy Co., which operates in two states.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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