DOUGLAS COUNTY SMART ENERGY
Guest Presentation: Tim Freeman
County Commissioner Freeman gave a presentation on the history of his participation in efforts to conserve energy in the City of Roseburg, Douglas County, and the Oregon Legislature.
As a member of the Roseburg City Council he was on the design team for the Public Safety Building. He pursued energy efficiency in construction of the building and energy systems within budget constraints, including making the facility ‘solar ready’ should funding become available later.
As a state legislator, he led a bi-partisan legislative campaign to make incentives for energy efficiency more accessible to Oregonians. He also worked to pass the Cool Schools Program to modernize technology to increase energy efficiency in schools, including several in Douglas County.
As County Commissioner, he has overseen projects that have reduced energy consumption, with savings of $10,000 annually, including: Lighting upgrades to the Commissioners offices, the Juvenile Detention Facility, and installing LED’s when facilities are re modeled. The Fairgrounds offices have been targeted for future upgrading. HVAC upgrades have been made to offices of the Assessor, District Attorney, IT, and Commissioners. Also, to the Reedsport Annex. Water savings have been achieved through recycling water in the County Jail and controlling water use in toilets in the detention facilities. On-demand water heating systems have been installed in Fowler House and judges’ offices. Many of these improvements have utilized funding from the state or other sources. If we would like more information, the County Facilities Director can offer more information.
Tim then took questions and comments.
Karen Chase asked how D.C. Smart Energy can support the County’s energy efficiency efforts. Tim encouraged us to educate county residents on what their fellow citizens are doing to conserve energy. He spoke briefly about the energy efficiency changes he’s made to his own home.
Mike Vaughan who does energy audits for Douglas Electric Co-op suggested Energy Trust as a source of incentives for the county.
Jim Stelson asked what was more of a motivator for change, saving money or personal values? Tim: People do it for different reasons including personal satisfaction. Joyce Akse thanked him for his personal commitment.
Evan Barnes, Douglas Electric Co-op Board Chair said the most compelling motivator is the monthly electric bill.
Diana Knous of Pacific Power commented that the extremely cold winter was a wake-up call. Mike Vaughan said he’d gotten more requests for audits, 74 instead of the usual 45.
D.C. Smart Energy expressed their thanks for Commissioner Freeman’s informative presentation.
Energize! Douglas County Community Campaign
The Elkton Town Hall is scheduled for April 4 at the ECEC Library from 12:30-2:00 p.m. Todd will speak for Douglas Electric Co-op Nicole asked for others to come. A joint town hall for Sutherlin and Oakland is coming up.Nicole and Melanie are contacting civic groups and clubs for additional outreach, starting with Rotary. Diana Knous attends noon Rotary and has a colleague who is in Sutherlin Rotary.
-Nicole contacted Merton Bangemann-Johnson of NeighborWorks Umpqua about working with their families.
-She has given presentations at several Head Start Family Nights.
David Reeck suggested contacting UCC Engineering Students. He will make a personal contact.
A major campaign priority is identifying the eight households that can be tracked for a year as they make progress in reducing energy use. Jim Stelson, who can perform energy audits is checking in with households from the Roseburg Town Hall and pulling together their utility information. Nicole is creating a ‘contract’ and has circulated a rough draft to the group for comment. Melanie gave a thumbs up. Stuart offered a suggestion: specify the time frame of the contract – one year with periodic check-ins. Jim said it’s been a challenge to get firm commitments. At this time people are still “exploring opportunities.” To move the process along Stuart suggested identifying a larger cadre of households and later name those who did the most as our “Energy Champions.” Karen thinks we may be making the process more complicated than it needs to be. Why not rely on self-reporting and a comparison of utility bills? We may not need rigorous data collection. Stuart said what we’re looking for is participant satisfaction. We need to be flexible. Arthur said Wegowise is a good tool for those who want to be more data oriented on behavior change. Joyce asked if we could draw in more participants with incentives and perks beyond the energy audit.
RARE Application for 2017-2018
Application deadline is April 14. Randy will set up a meeting to work on it Friday or Monday when UCAN’s grant writer is available. Stuart and Karen will participate. The grant process is likely to be highly competitive. We will still need to seek other sources of funding.
Douglas County Smart Energy was awarded a Sunshot solar grant from the Federal Department of Energy. The grant will provide technical assistance to develop over 100 kilowatts of community solar energy, targeting low and moderate income households. The application was submitted under the umbrella of Sustainable Northwest with co-applicants from Hood River and Lake County. The grant will give $8,000 to Douglas County, plus $10,000 of vouchers for for technical assistance to be divided among the participating programs. The 18-month grant period begins May1. Getting the grant in a highly competitive, nation-wide selection process was a real coup for us.
Diana Knous announced the application period for Blue Sky grants opens July 3. An application for funds in coordination with Sun shot would be appropriate but could not be combined with Energy Trust funding.
Electric Co-operative Legislative Day
Todd said the co-ops are supportive of a bill from Reps. Holvey and McKeown to provide tax credits for community solar projects for low and moderate income households. Stuart pointed out that
the PUC seems headed in the same direction with its rulemaking process for HB 1547. Karen cautioned that we don’t know yet what these incentives will ultimately cover.
Renewable Energy Work Groups
Community Solar – Melanie said the group will be revving up its activity and recruiting more participants.
Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations – David Reeck’s updates:
-City of Roseburg will be setting its budget soon. He has been advocating with Downtown Roseburg Association for charging stations to attract visitors and meeting with City Manager Lance Colley.
-The UBEA (Umpqua Basin Economic Alliance) application to Volkswagen for charging stations is pending. Diana Knous praised David and the committee for being ahead of the curve for going. after the first round of grants
-Stuart said several electric vehicles will be on display at the Fairgrounds for the Earth Day and Energy Fair on April 24 including Dennis Lutwen’s Tesla X, Chevy’s Volt and maybe the new Chevy Bolt. David’s electric bikes will also be there.
Energy Backup and Batteries
Al wasn’t present to report. The technology is constantly evolving (Wonderwall 2) but doesn’t pencil out for everyone. Elon Musk is publicizing his challenge use the technology to fight pollution in Southern Australia.
Facebook and Website
Nicole has posted sign-up information on Facebook to attract participants for Energize! Douglas County.
Phil will post February and March Smart Energy columns, News Review Smart Energy columns, and November’s minutes (if they can be located.) He always welcomes more content.