Push for clean energy jobs in Oregon looks to reduce carbon footprint

Push for clean energy jobs in Oregon looks to reduce carbon footprint

EUGENE, Ore. - More and more Oregonians are getting into clean energy jobs, and some experts say the opportunities are just beginning.

Founder of Tacovore, Steve Mertz, says the restaurant business isn't just about making food.

“At some point, businesses have to take a look at what's important and why you're even doing business in the first place,” said Mertz.

He says it's about making smart choices for future generations.

His contribution is like many other restaurant owners in Oregon, which is resourcing used cooking oil -- about 200 gallons each month.

Companies like Sequential come in and create the used cooking oil into ultra low carbon biodiesel. Ian hill, with Sequential, says under Governor Kate Brown's cap-and-invest strategy, more clean energy opportunities can be made.

He's one of 55,000 Oregonians in clean energy jobs. He's using new ways to create energy from extra parts of the used cooking oil.

“We also take the gritty kind of gnarly little bits that we can't turn into biodiesel and that material is still very energy dense,” said Hill.

Essentially, creating electricity, something that can dramatically reduce Oregon's carbon footprint.

But Hill says this can only be done with digesters.

“Anywhere where there's organic waste stream that is under-utilized that's an opportunity for a digester,” said Hill. “That's an opportunity for jobs, that's an opportunity for producing ultra-low carbon fuel.”

One being just outside Eugene, but Hill says we need more.

He also points out wind and tide energy are among Oregon's natural resources that could turn into more clean energy jobs.

With clean energy growth comes with some cost, but Hill says that money will pay off in the end.

“So instead of just getting hit with costs all the time as climate change affects and impacts get worse and worse with good policy, we can turn that cost into an opportunity and ultimately a return on investment for Oregon taxpayers,” he said.

For a cleaner future for all.

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