Blog

Rural energy leaders selected

Posted by Lee Rahr on June 18, 2015

Six communities will learn how to bolster their economies with investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

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We had a robust response to our call for applications for Making Energy Work for Rural Oregon. Six communities have been chosen to participate in the workshop series: John Day, Dufur, and Hood River in eastern Oregon, and Douglas County, Talent, and Klamath Falls in southwest Oregon.

Each participating community has a unique need and interest in advancing clean energy, and sees investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency as an important way to diversify their economies. Local leaders agree that a clean energy economy will help reinvest dollars back into the community, while fostering energy independence, job creation, and a healthy environment. 

Individual workshops will be tailored to each region’s available natural resources, local priorities, and the community’s interest in utilizing energy assets to drive economic development. The workshops will provide participants with the connections and tools they need to bolster their economy with investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, while responding to the challenges of climate change. 

Lake and Wallowa counties will serve as models for the progress they have already made implementing renewable energy projects. Lake County is on its way to a 100% renewable energy future. They have developed 22 energy projects, saving homeowners, businesses and ranchers over $1.9 million dollars. Wallowa County has experienced similar benefits from the development of solar, biomass, and micro-hydro projects and has generated over $2.4 million in combined energy savings. Lake County Resources Initiative and Wallowa Resources, and other workshop partners and state agencies will provide technical assistance and strategies to help these six communities adopt and carry out clean energy planning, programming and project development. 

Some of the potential workshop topics include: 

  • Creating an energy plan or clean energy workgroup
  • Increasing community coordination amongst energy related stakeholders
  • Utilizing University of Oregon RARE AmeriCorp students
  • Coordinating residential energy efficiency and solar programs 
  • Coordinating agricultural irrigation efficiency and solar programs
  • Advocating for municipal wastewater treatment facility efficiency upgrades
  • Pursuing public facility biomass thermal heat
  • Coordinating a community owned solar through the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative
  • Pursuing small-scale hydro 
  • Wood stove change out programming

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The six workshops are currently being developed in partnership with each of the participant communities. Workshops will kick off this fall, and community members are encouraged to attend. To receive updates on individual workshops, contact Lee Rahr, Energy Program Director, at lrahr@sustainablenorthwest.org