Meeting Minutes for October 5, 2015

Douglas County Smart Energy

Meeting Notes

October 5, 2015


Website Update

Phil Bigler of Douglas Electric Co-op showed what is already on the website: links to local utilities  and a version of the  News-Review article introducing the group and the website. Phil said the site is easy to administer from his experience.

The group discussed additional content:

-Energy savings tips.

-Ways to save money.

-Events relevant to energy efficiency and clean energy.

-Ruralite articles

-All D.C. Smart Energy articles

-Links to energy assistance programs

-Success stories from locals who have made their homes more energy efficient with concrete examples of savings. Businesses, too, but be careful not to “advertise” the business.

-Find a Contractor” information (available on Energy Trust website)

-Link to Oregon Department of Energy website

Melanie asked group members to take time to come up with more ideas. Share with Phil and bring to next meeting.


Website Budget

Phil has received a small invoice from website builder Matt Danskine. At a previous meeting, participating utilities agreed to share the cost.

Follow up at next meeting.


Presentation: Making Energy Work for Rural Oregon

Melanie introduced Lee Rahr, Community Energy Program Manager for Sustainable Northwest.  Rahr has already begun discussion about how to structure a one-day workshop for Douglas County. Melanie, Stuart, Polly and Jim Long met briefly with her during the summer.

Rahr described her current and future work with other rural Oregon communities: Talent, Hood River, John Day, Klamath Falls and Dufur. Each community designs its own unique workshop/project.         Douglas County Smart Energy will be the organizer for our community. She asked what sectors we would like as priorities/areas of focus: agriculture, government, schools, and community solar, other?   In Talent the organizing group is working with CEWO (Clean Energy Works Oregon).Douglas County will be served by CEWO, starting in 2016. She re­ commended an ongoing project for more impact.

Melanie suggested some projects: to consider for Douglas County:

  • Help for low to middle income consumers to finance energy efficiency improvements.
  • Solar/renewable projects for schools and churches. Randy suggested food pantries serving low income households.
  • Complete solarization of Trillium Apartments through a co-op arrangement

Rahr said the sooner we can set a date for the workshop the better. Sometime in March may work best. Northwest Renewables will handle publicity.


In further discussion it was suggested that we make Ford Family Foundation part of the workshop program. John Lapham asked if Northwest Renewables works with lenders.   It has been difficult to put together financing in Douglas County, even with the local Umpqua Bank.

Based on her past experience, Karen Chase encouraged finding a RARE volunteer from University of Oregon who could staff our project during 2016-2017.   Cost is $20,000. Karen said Energy Trust might be able to match half if we could identify sponsors for the other half. RARE volunteers could be housed with city, county or non-profit entities.


PRESENT : Phil Bigler, Karen Chase, Esther Ike, John Lapham, Stuart Liebowitz, Melanie MacKinnon, Randy Magnuson, Jim Stelson, Polly Stirling           Guest: Lee Rahr