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On Earth Day this year, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $20 million to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to create Clean Energy Works Oregon. This award will expand key elements of the Clean Energy Works Portland pilot program to other communities in our state, as well as add program elements for commercial buildings.
Clean Energy Works Portland helps homeowners finance and install energy-efficiency upgrades. The pilot offers homeowners access to low-cost, long-term financing for insulation, air sealing, and the installation of a high-efficiency furnace or water heater. To date, Clean Energy Works Portland has completed more than 350 energy assessments, and over 130 homeowners have signed loans for energy-efficiency upgrades. These loans are paid back over 20 years on the resident’s utility bill, with energy savings helping to cover the costs of the home energy improvements.
Initially, Clean Energy Works Oregon will reserve funding for Hood River County, the City of Astoria, and the South Central Oregon Economic Development District in Lake and Klamath counties, the jurisdictions that were selected through the Oregon Department of Energy’s competitive process last fall. Clackamas County and the cities of Gresham, Hillsboro, and Lake Oswego will also be part of a Portland-metro program that will enable jurisdictions with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act energy efficiency funds to tap into a shared program.
Together, the residential and commercial programs are expected to create or retain 1,300 jobs over the next three years. These are not just any jobs – they are quality jobs with good wages creating highly-skilled workers with career pathways. To date, 65 percent of the pilot wages have been paid to minorities and women, and 73 percent of the jobs have included a health insurance benefit.
The success of the pilot is the result of strong collaboration among a long list of public and private partners who have worked together make this project succeed: the Energy Trust of Oregon, ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Multnomah County, Worksystems Inc., Green For All, and organized labor and community-based organizations.
CEWP looking forward to working with Portland neighborhoods
Though Clean Energy Works Portland has attracted national attention, staff is looking forward to the next phase of the pilot collaborating with area neighborhoods to embrace and promote energy-efficiency improvements. Through a competitive process, BPS and the Clean Energy Works partners recently chose the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG), in partnership with the contractors Chick of All Trades, Sustainable Solutions Unlimited, EcoTech, Balanced Energy Solutions, Faison Construction and Abacus Energy Solutions, who will coordinate a neighborhood-based outreach campaign to recruit 100 homeowners in the Cully neighborhood of NE Portland.
For more information on how to apply, visit www.cleanenergyworksportland.org.