The Hood River Energy Council is requesting $10,000 from its four governing jurisdictions — Hood River County, the City of Hood River, the Port of Hood River and the Port of Cascade Locks — for implementation of the Hood River Energy Plan through the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The Hood River Energy Plan is a document that sets community-wide energy reduction goals and strategies to meet them by 2030.

Reads the plan’s vision statement: “The Hood River Energy Plan is a blueprint to improve community resilience, increase energy independence and increase economic benefits related to energy use in Hood River County, while reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.”

Creation of the plan began in 2016 and it was formally adopted by the Hood River County Commission, Hood River City Council, the Port of Hood River and the Port of Cascade Locks in in 2018.

“The Energy Plan is a non-binding commitment for each governing body to pursue initiatives that will help our community meet energy and carbon emission-reduction goals,” said Marla Harvey, Hood River County Energy Plan coordinator, in a letter to the Port of Hood River.

“The ask of $10,000 amounts to approximately 10 percent of the cost to maintain a coordinator and is a small amount compared to the savings and benefits for the county and its citizens,” said Harvey.

The Port of Hood River, the City of Hood River and Hood River County have all agreed to that amount; and the Port of Cascade Locks has pledged to contribute $3,500.

Both the plan and its advisory body, the Hood River County Energy Council, are officially classified as a special project of the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD). The council is comprised entirely of volunteers and Harvey is the only paid employee associated with implementation of the plan.

“The value of having a formal advisory group … led by a coordinator position has become vividly apparent over the last few years since our community embarked on this work in a collaborative and inclusive way,” said Harvey. “(We) are working on bigger projects, such renewable energy generation and energy storage projects for target facilities that improve our community’s resilience to power outages, community solar projects, zero energy new construction educational campaigns, and increased electric vehicle charging infrastructure. These efforts require coordination with many stakeholders — state and federal agencies, the Energy Trust of Oregon, utilities, technical experts, local business and numerous others.”

For more information on the Hood River Energy Plan, visit www.mcedd.org/industry-development/special-projects.

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