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BPS News: White House Announces $20 Million in Recovery Act Funding for City of Portland, State of Oregon for Clean Energy Retrofit Program

BPS News

APRIL 21, 2010

Roy Kaufmann (Mayor Sam Adams) 503-823-4799
Anna Richter Taylor (Governor Ted Kulongoski) 503-378-3554
Diana Enright (Oregon Department of Energy) 503-378-8278
Courtney Warner Crowell (Senator Jeff Merkley) 503-326-2747
Tom Towslee (Senator Ron Wyden) 503-326-7539
Molly Simmons (Rep. Peter DeFazio) 202-225-6416

White House Announces $20 Million in Recovery Act Funding for City of Portland, State of Oregon for Clean Energy Retrofit Program

Portland, Ore. -- Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Sam Adams today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the City of Portland and State of Oregon $20 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds for residential and commercial energy retrofits across the state. More than 150 communities submitted applications worth more than $3.5 billion for the $452 million available. The Portland and Oregon application was one of only 25 communities selected nationwide for federal dollars to produce large scale neighborhood energy efficiency.

The grant opportunity comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program with funding from the Recovery Act. The initiative is a direct result of the Obama Administration’s commitment to ramping up the energy efficiency industry nationally. The list of awardees was issued by Vice President Joe Biden this morning in Washington, D.C.

“With this federal award Oregon can further its position as a national leader in energy efficiency,” Governor Ted Kulongoski said. “This investment in communities across the state will help showcase to the world that transitioning to sustainable communities is not only good for the environment, but it creates economic opportunity and improves our overall quality of life.”

The centerpiece of the award is a Clean Energy Works Oregon program that will result in energy retrofitting a significant number of homes and commercial buildings across the state. Building owners and tenants will have the opportunity to pay back energy efficiency loans on their utility bills or property tax bills.

“We’re excited that the success of Clean Energy Works Portland will be a launch pad for Oregon’s energy efficiency industry,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “The City of Portland thanks all the public, private and nonprofit partners that joined together to make this achievement possible. Portlanders should be proud of the national recognition that validates Portland as America’s living laboratory for the sustainability economy. This effort would not have been possible without the support of each and every member of Oregon's federal delegation, including Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley, Representative Earl Blumenauer, Representative Peter DeFazio, Representative Greg Walden, Representative David Wu, and Representative Kurt Schrader. It's truly a win for all of Oregon.”  

The grant application effort represents an unprecedented level of federal, state and local cooperation, as well as public-private partnership. The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability collaborated with the Oregon Department of Energy, Energy Trust of Oregon, ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, NW Natural, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, Worksystems Inc., Green For All, Multnomah County, Portland Development Commission, Portland Housing Bureau, Home Performance Contractors Guild of Oregon and others to build off the successful Clean Energy Works Portland model and integrate with the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Technology Act (HB 2626), passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2009.

Clean Energy Works Oregon is supported by a financial strategy that leverages federal funding by attracting significant private capital to Oregon. The proposal highlights training, workforce development, business support and contracting standards to ensure economic opportunity for low-income residents and historically underserved populations.

The $20 million award is expected to result in thousands of residential and commercial retrofits, career-pathway jobs throughout the region, and significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.



“This announcement is the direct result of Oregon’s decades-long work to establish itself as a leader in clean energy and recognition of its efforts to create jobs in the new green economy. It is because of these pioneering efforts, including a program that helps building owners finance energy-saving measures, that Oregon has emerged from this competitive grant process with additional resources it needs to reduce air pollution, create jobs and make homes and businesses across the state more energy efficient. With the federal government as a partner, Oregon will now be able to put people back to work making homes, schools and businesses across the state more efficient while saving taxpayers more of their hard-earned money.” – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

“I’ve seen firsthand how Clean Energy Works Portland creates jobs and reduces energy use, and I’m excited that more families and businesses across the state will now be able to benefit,” said Merkley.  “Today's announcement is a powerful endorsement for the work being done by Clean Energy Works." – U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

"By expanding Portland's Clean Energy Works Program to communities across Oregon, we are creating new opportunities for green jobs and reducing our reliance on dirty, expensive fuels. This is a prime example of how the federal government can be a better partner to states that want to get on the path to a clean energy economy. I am proud that Oregon is once again leading the way." – U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer
"The investment in Clean Energy Works Oregon will create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and benefit generations to come.  This is a win-win-win, and it is exciting that it will now be available to businesses and families across the state.  I am pleased that Oregon is once again leading the way in carbon reduction." – U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio
“Every dollar saved through energy efficiency by businesses and consumers helps put more money back into our local economy. Not only will this funding put Oregonians to work retrofitting homes and commercial buildings but it will also allow families and businesses to save their hard earned money and continue Oregon’s commitment to embracing clean energy.”-U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader
“The Recovery Act dollars awarded today will make our built environment more efficient, help cash-strapped homeowners and businesses save money on their utility bills, create new jobs, and help get our economy back on track. With recent studies showing that most of our region's energy demands can be met through implementing efficiency measures rather than new energy generation, this funding could not have come at a better time.  The state of Oregon, the city of Portland, and the many important stakeholders involved in this effort should be commended for their leadership and collaboration. Your success today further cements our community's global reputation as the leader on issues of sustainability and energy independence.” – U.S. Representative David Wu

"This award spells J-O-B-S for Oregonians.  It's what happens when we all work together to put Oregon on the leading edge of energy efficiency." – Oregon House Majority Leader Rep. Mary Nolan

“This grant is recognition of bipartisan cooperation and a focus on jobs in the State Legislature and local government. Through partnership with Mayor Adams' innovative Clean Energy Works Portland, we’ve already put Oregonians back to work. Now we can do even more to reduce costs, create jobs, and build a clean energy future for Oregon.” – Oregon Rep. Jules Bailey

“This project is a great example of what can happen when government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private firms collaborate to deliver programs that benefit people and the environment. It will save energy, reduce carbon emissions and create jobs for the residents of the Portland metropolitan region.” – David Bragdon, Metro Council President

"We have been so proud to partner with the City of Portland on the country's most promising home energy retrofit program to date.  The pilot is already showing that smart investment and strong collaboration can produce high-quality jobs for people who desperately need them.  This grant will help us take this program to scale, not only creating more good, green jobs in Oregon, but also blazing a trail of innovation for the rest of the country."  -- Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green For All
“These grant dollars, when matched with other private investment, will provide the necessary push to accelerate Oregon's efforts now underway to redesigning the way we achieve energy efficiency.  NW Natural is optimistic that large-scale, cost-effective conservation is within reach.  We are proud to be part of the team demonstrating these concepts and will continue to look for ways to deploy our company's assets and skills to ensure this effort's success." – Gregg Kantor, CEO, NW Natural

“Customers want to be more energy efficient and this program will help them take that step, actually doing projects in their homes that weren’t possible for them without this program. Pacific Power has a legacy of leadership providing energy efficiency options to our customers.  We were excited to be part of the pilot project that helps our customers take action to save energy and money. Pacific Power looks forward to the program helping more customers in more communities as it rolls out statewide. We are excited that our customers have another option to help make energy efficiency improvements in their homes and businesses a little more affordable”-- Pat Reiten, president of Pacific Power

“The Clean Energy Works program offers an attractive option for customers who are interesting in finding ways to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their carbon footprint. We look forward to working with the City and the other partners to develop this program." – Carol Dillin, vice president of PGE's Customers and Economic Development department.

"Energy Trust enthusiastically welcomes this infusion of federal funds, which will combine with our own funds and those of many others to support a dramatic statewide scale up of the Clean Energy Works Portland pilot. Clean Energy Works Oregon will help households and business owners around the state become more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs." – Margie Harris, Executive Director, Energy Trust of Oregon

“As an early partner and collaborator in Clean Energy Works Portland, we are committed to growing CEWP as a platform for triple bottom line investment. Because of our confidence in this innovative partnership, we and the City of Portland have invested our own resources to demonstrate early stage viability, and this made a difference in attracting federal resources. This collaboration has created a financial product that aggregates resources, is available widely to people of all income levels, and by design can access liquidity of secondary markets. We are excited to be part of bringing this product to scale throughout the state of Oregon.” – Adam Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia

 “Worksystems is committed to supporting partnerships that build the capacity to move people from poverty to self-sufficiency. Clean Energy Works Oregon is a perfect complement to our efforts and we look forward to working together to implement the program and achieve the economic, environmental and social benefits it affords.” – Andrew McGough, Executive Director, Worksystems, Inc.

"Unemployment is devastating Oregon communities.  The investment of Federal funds to jump start the Clean Energy Works Oregon program will help put Oregon laborers back to work.  Our Union remains committed to assisting the growth of the energy efficiency market and the success of the Clean Energy Works scale-up.  Training Oregon's growing green workforce and assisting in family wage job creation will continue to be amongst the Laborers Union's highest priorities." – Greg Held, Business Manager, Oregon and Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers

"The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters applauds the USDOE's decision to fund Clean Energy Works Portland's innovative energy efficiency program," "Going forward, we are excited to provide training for participants, ensuring that partner contractors can count on reliable and professional service to achieve the program's important goals." – Doug Tweedy, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, PNRCC

"The USDOE award provides the Native community and other communities of color the opportunity to prosper and sustain our children and families while achieving energy efficiency in an innovative equitable manner.... and further establishes a promise that the green economy will be inclusive and just throughout the state of Oregon." – Rey Espana, Director of Employment, Housing and Community Development, NAYA Family Center

“The Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) celebrates Oregon’s receipt of USDOE funding to expand energy efficiency retrofits of building stock throughout the state.  Clean Energy Works Portland, a city  pilot to enable homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements through an innovative financing mechanism, is just getting off the ground, and is setting the stage for job creation, carbon reduction and energy savings for homeowners. We are thrilled at the opportunity to spread these benefits across Oregon in a scale-up made possible through this federal investment and the additional capital it will leverage.” – Mary Nemmers, Lead Organizer, Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good

“Our community spends millions more than we have to each winter heating uninsulated homes and buildings.  Energy efficiency is a great investment which also happens to be great for our environment and for our local economy.” – Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen

"Imagine Energy would greatly support a scale-up of the Clean Energy Works Portland program.  This initiative is transforming the way homes are retrofitted for performance-based energy efficiency, comfort, safety and indoor air quality.  The Federal funds would help take the program to the net level and ensure the development of a energy retrofit economy and job creating in Oregon." – Jonathan Cohen, Principal, Imagine Energy

"This is the proverbial silver bullet strategy! There's no better way to kick start the economy than providing funding for hundreds of new jobs that employ people to help others save money by their reducing energy costs.  These new jobs will also materially contribute to increasing our energy independence and decreasing our carbon footprint.  It's a win, win, win, win scenario.  It's just the kind of smart, green government initiative that's made Oregon a beacon for what could be accomplished in the rest of the country." – Marshall Runkel, Principal, EcoTech

"Through this award, the Department of Energy has recognized Oregon’s unique regional competitive advantage in energy efficiency and sustainability. DOE has presented Oregon a unique opportunity to not only create jobs and mobilize critical investment needed in energy efficiency, but also demonstrate the State’s capacity to pioneer innovative public-private partnerships that promote transformative economic development and provide national leadership in the clean energy economy.” – Kipp Baratoff, President of Gerding Edlen Sustainable Solutions

"Today the Department of Energy placed a down payment on the future of Oregon. This $20 million award will catalyze hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment producing durable family wage jobs all across the state in the name of energy efficiency. This award will enable companies, like McKinstry, to innovate and drive the waste out of homes, schools, hospitals, and commercial buildings." – Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry Company

"We are excited about the opportunity this grant represents to extend the benefits of clean energy to low-income households by creating green collar jobs for those we serve.  In addition, the funding may permit multifamily apartment owners, such as HAP, to explore innovative energy retrofit models for several of our apartment complexes, lower energy costs and helping to preserve valuable public assets," Steve Rudman, executive director, Housing Authority of Portland

“We are coming full circle from the days of our “Weatherization Division” back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Then we were doing insulation, storm windows and solar hot water systems, all supported by the “Jimmy Carter tax credits.”  Having launched a Home Performance division three years ago, we have built the foundation for a new division that has the potential to grab back from depths of the “Great Recession,” all of the thirty or more employees that we lost in the last two years. In addition to providing jobs and prosperity, we will be making a serious contribution to the resolution of our global warming challenge. It is a very exciting time. I believe the remodeling industry is the most important vehicle to deliver home energy retro-fits to the American consumer.” – Tom Kelly, President, Neil Kelly Company

"I feel that the EECBG is a good way of not only stimulating the construction industry and helping those contractors who have been hurt by the recession, but also of helping ensure work for minority contractors and other underutilized businesses." – Maurice Rahming, President, National Association of Minority Contractors of Oregon