Years back several members decided to form an “Energy Team” that works solely on issues relating to energy, and tremendous success has followed. From helping to establish a Union County Renewable Energy Committee, pushing for the Cool Schools bill to starting an Eastern Oregon Solar Fair, our members have been busy. The vision is to help support rural communities so we have an environment where small-scale renewable energy projects, conservation and efficiency in our schools, and sound energy policy can flourish.

The ORA Energy Team participates in a conference call with Synapse Energy Economics

Unfortunately there are many unique obstacles that confront Eastern Oregon. Like many folks in rural America, our communities are so often “land rich” but financially struggling. This makes rural Oregonians more vulnerable to losing land and water rights in the name of dirty energy.

Union County residents face a significant set of obstacles that are not present in other parts of the state as it is one of the few counties in Oregon that reside completely outside of Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) territory. In other parts of the state and even in neighboring counties ETO provides cash incentives, information and services to individuals making it easy to become more energy efficient, conserve, or use renewable energy. For example, residents that lie in Energy Trust territory are given an instant rebate for installing a solar system, making the overall cost substantially cheaper.

ORA members help bring the first electric cars to Union CountyWhile we face these challenges, what we do have is people power. Organizing citizens for the right to clean, sustainable energy is one of the main goals of the Energy Team. When our communities join together we can create our own future. If you have ever wanted to take part in Eastern Oregon’s energy future, join our Energy Team! Contact Organizer Tova Woyciechowicz for more information, tova@oregonrural.org

Our active Energy Team decides what issues are important to them and we help facilitate to win campaigns and finish projects.