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USDA Announces Grant to Support Energy Efficiency and Business Growth in Rogue Valley

Erin McDuff
Release Date

The nonprofit Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) will increase energy efficiency installations in the Rogue Valley, stimulate business growth, enable residents to reduce their energy costs, and support environmental stewardship with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, announced State Director Vicki Walker today.

“By increasing awareness about energy efficiency options and providing business resources for local installers, Northwest SEED is helping to promote sustainability and economic development in rural southern Oregon,” said Walker. “This project will support local businesses and jobs, help residents save money on their energy bills, and protect the environment.”

Northwest SEED launched its Energize Rogue program this summer, in collaboration with the local environmental group Rogue Climate, to support small and emerging businesses in the Rogue Valley through educational workshops and an energy efficiency technology bulk purchase.

Energize Rogue will work with local businesses and citizens to run a ductless heat pump group purchase campaign. Ductless heat pumps provide a highly efficient way to heat and cool homes that results in energy cost savings, and they often come with significant rebates or tax incentives. The group purchase campaign will provide local residents with an opportunity to purchase a ductless heat pump system at a discounted rate. Participating residents will learn about financing options and incentives, cost savings associated with the technology, and benefits for the long-term health of the environment. A committee of local volunteers will select one or more local businesses to fulfill the group purchase contracts.

At the same time, Energize Rogue’s educational workshops will provide the training local businesses need to better utilize or expand into the energy efficiency market, helping retain and create jobs. The training sessions will walk business owners through unique strategies for marketing and selling energy efficiency technology and explain how to work with a group purchase.

Funding for this project is being provided through USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Program and is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

Local residents and businesses interested in bringing clean energy to the Rogue Valley can learn more about the Energize Rogue program and view the schedule of upcoming workshops on the Northwest SEED website: http://www.nwseed.org/projects/conservation-and-efficiency/energize-rogue/. Energize Rogue will also develop two committees—a Public Outreach Committee and a Contractor Selection Committee—to assist with the group purchase campaign. Contact Jill Eikenhorst at jill@nwseed.org or (206) 457-5403 to learn more.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD) has invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities, such as schools, public safety, and healthcare facilities; helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses; and financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/results.