Bonneville Environmental Foundation
The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) is a non-profit organization that markets green power products to public utilities, businesses, government agencies and individuals. It was founded in 1998 to support watershed restoration programs and develop new sources of renewable energy. What began as a partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has expanded to include other suppliers and markets.
History and Mission
The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit organization, believes that climate change and degradation of world freshwater resources are two of the primary threats facing communities around the globe. These are complex and interrelated issues that require innovative solutions. BEF addresses these issues with coordinated watershed and renewable energy programs. BEF believes that solutions to energy, climate, and water resource challenges require sustained efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based energy sources and to restore degraded watershed ecosystems. To this end, BEF sponsors programs that aim to simultaneously a) restore watershed ecosystems, b) educate students about renewable energy and conservation, and c) expand the generation of clean renewable energy. By integrating these three program areas, BEF is proactively addressing the fundamental ecological challenges of this century.
Green Tags / BEF Carbon Offsets
During 2000, BEF developed its Green Tags product (later renamed 'BEF Carbon Offsets'), in recognition of the demand for renewable energy in places where utilities do not offer that choice. The purchase of BEF Carbon Offsets allows businesses and consumers to offset the environmental impacts of their carbon (dioxide) output; and represents the environmental benefits that occur when clean, new renewable energy is substituted for power produced by burning fossil fuel. Revenues that are generated selling Green Tags are reinvested in new forms of renewable energy. In particular, these revenues support new renewable energy from solar, wind and biomass and restore damaged watersheds.
Over 1.5 million dollars of BEF Carbon Offsets have sold through 2007.
Renewable Energy Group
The Renewable Energy Group (REG), formerly the Project Management Group (PMG), collaborates with utilities and other funding partners to foster knowledge and excitement about renewable energy technology by delivering hands-on experience with solar electricity to students and communities throughout the United States.
REG manages BEF's renewable energy demonstration projects and renewable energy educational outreach under the Solar 4R Schools program (S4RS). Solar 4R Schools provides solar-electric system installations, in-class activities, science kits, teacher training and event management to schools, libraries and museums, and other community centers.
REG currently manages more than 100 photovoltaic systems at schools and community centers in 15 states, representing an investment of more than $1.5M. Most projects are 1.1 kW demonstration systems at schools and community centers, but a few are larger, including: White Bluffs/Hanford (39 kW), Ellensburg Community Solar Project (36 kW), Sequential Biofuel Station in Eugene (33 kW), Portland Brewery Blocks (22.4 kW), Chelan PUD Solar (20 kW) and Washington State School for the Blind (13.5 KW) are the largest. A 64 kW community-funded solar project is under construction in Ashland, Ore.
BEF implements a 10-year Model Watershed restoration funding strategy. It commits long-term resources and support to achieve meaningful and lasting improvements to river and stream ecosystems. Its support allows local groups to measure results and adapt and improve strategies over time, ensuring that its programs produce lasting ecological changes that will benefit humans and native species for centuries. To date, BEF has funded 36 watershed grants worth a total of $1 million. It has made five 10-year Model Watershed commitments.