Stimulus slowdown

$42 million in federal stimulus money has yet to be spent by Oregon’s energy department.

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The Oregon Department of Energy says one reason it hasn’t used the stimulus – meant for energy-generating or energy-saving projects – is because they had no precedent for spending such large amounts of federal money.

“People got the impression that we were going to press a button and the money was going to start to flow,” said energy department spokesman Lou Torres. “But it doesn’t work that way in government, quite honestly. We’re trying to get it out there as fast as we can and trying to make sure we do it right.”

In Oregon, local governments, schools and nonprofit groups began submitting proposals — 1,100 in all — last April for a share of the state energy department’s $42 million. Eugene-based solar panel installer Advanced Energy Systems reports that a dozen of its clients applied for the funds, proposing projects valued from $50,000 to $1 million. But the applicants are still waiting for a reply.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.