Meeting Minutes for April 20, 2016

DOUGLAS COUNTY SMART ENERGY

MEETING NOTES

RARE Application Report

A committee of interested individuals (John Lapham, Mickey Beach, Stuart Liebowitz, Gardner Chappell, Arthur Chaput, Randy Magnuson) met to write a pre-application for a RARE AmeriCorps volunteer to work the community energy campaign concepts that came out of the Rural Energy Workshop on April 7. Other sponsors were also identified.

Cost of the volunteer is $22,000 for a year’ s service, which must be raised by July when the full application is submitted. Energy Trust will contribute $4,400, with the understanding that their piece of the project will be designated for energy efficiency. Museum Director Gardner Chappell said the County might contribute funds.

The Douglas County Museum of History and Natural History is the lead applicant, with the capacity to both house the volunteer and provide the education component.

The RARE volunteer would start in September but Stuart suggested the group move ahead on the campaign actions generated from the work­ shop to strengthen our RARE capacity. Joyce Akse has encouraged setting goals in both areas of the campaign: energy efficiency and renewable energy, with measurable outcomes such as a percentage reduction in energy usage. This would necessitate having good baseline data which we may or may not have. Karen said the City of Talent was using baseline data to pursue their goal of being “Rogue Valley’ s most energy efficient and energy independent community.’

Community Solar Legislation

Stuart gave a brief summary of the Community Solar bill passed in the 2016 Oregon Legislature. It will go into effect in July 2017. Projects must be at last 25 KW’ s, with 10% benefiting low-income households. Community solar could be part of the campaign.

 

Community Demonstration Sites

A major focus of the local renewable campaign will be identifying demonstration sites.  They should have high visibility and be accessible to residents county-wide. In addition to the Museum, other sites might include a public building, a church, a non-profit facility, the YMCA, D.C. Fairgrounds. Karen suggested adding one or more commercial buildings to the mix. Also, evaluating the potential for the RUSA and Ben Irving projects. Karen encouraged the Museum to strengthen its bid as a RARE applicant with energy efficiency upgrades, starting with an energy audit, a Blue Sky application and lighting.     She thinks if the county could see the cost savings from new lighting,    they would be motivated to expand   it to other buildings. Arthur said the Museum or other location on the Fairgrounds campus could be a community solar site.

Publicizing the Campaign

The group discussed how to publicize the campaign and make it visible to the community. Adopting a slogan, as Lake County and Talent have done is a priority. Nathan encouraged also having a mission statement. Suggested slogans from the Energy Workshop include:

  • “Energizing Douglas County”
  • “Douglas County: a New Energy Frontier”
  • “Saving Energy Means Investing in Our Community”
  • “Energy Independence”

Stuart suggested combining a couple of the phrases:

  • “The New Energy Frontier: Energizing Douglas County”

We need to use a multi-faceted approach to getting out the campaign’ s message: newspapers, television, website, social media. It needs to be constantly before the public with success stories. Mickey said he would, take the campaign to outlying areas of the County through monthly UBEA chamber summits. He will be in Elkton in May. He asked Stuart to provide him with talking points about D.C. Smart Energy.

Arthur said that as we move forward with the projects we can track progress online (wegowise) and share it with the public. Mickey suggested   the website tag-on ‘Shout Out”.

What’s Next

Stuart suggested our full group divide info two tracks: energy efficiency and renewable/solar energy projects rather than working on all aspects of the campaign in a large group.

We will invite more people who attended the workshop and key community members,   Names suggested were: Joyce Akse [YMCA), Ted Romas (Myrtle Creek), Brian Davis (Roseburg city planner), Chris Boice (Douglas County Commissioner), Allison Eggers (Roseburg City Council and YMCA), Victoria Hawks (Roseburg City Council and County Planning Commission), Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Wildlife Safari.

In closing, M.A. shared an energy success story from several decades ago when a small group persuaded large supermarket chains to install plastic curtains over their refrigerated areas to save energy and greatly reduce operating costs.   The lesson: you can start small and still make big changes.