Wyden, Merkley Announce $2.3 Million for Rural Renewable Energy Projects


Funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will go toward 28 Oregon projects aimed at building renewable energy and energy efficiency infrastructure.

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Last week, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced that 28 renewable energy projects targeting rural parts of the state will receive $2.3 million of grant funding.

Funding for the projects — mostly solar panel installations at rural farms and businesses — comes from  the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion in federal funding over 10 years to support renewable energy projects, according to a press release issued jointly by Wyden and Merkley last week.

Nearly half of the procurement — $1 million — will go toward the installation of a ground-mounted solar energy system for Verde Light Community Solar LLC in Ontario. The system is estimated to generate over 8,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year, the equivalent needed to power 750 single family homes annually, and will provide $121,170 per year in energy cost savings to local subscribers.

Smaller projects included $11,824 to help Lexington-based Tin Willow Sheep Dairy farm purchase and install a solar panel system capable of replacing over half of the business’s energy use with solar power, reducing its utility bill by $782 per year in the process.

Of the 28 projects to receive funding, 26 projects involved the installation of solar panel systems.

The Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District, Spark Northwest, North Fork John Day River Watershed Council, and the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District received a combined total of $100,000 to increase implementation of renewable energy generation by rural small businesses, farms and agricultural producers throughout the state. The University of Oregon’s Resource Assistance for Rural Environments AmeriCorps Program also received $100,000 to work with area partners to increase implementation of renewable energy generation by rural small businesses and farms.

“We can address high energy prices due to the volatility in the price of oil and natural gas by bolstering our clean, domestic energy supplies in every nook and cranny of our state and across the nation,” said Wyden in the press release. “I was proud to have fought for and secured some of the most consequential pieces of the Inflation Reduction Act to tackle the climate crisis and create new jobs, but one of my main goals was to ensure that rural farmers, ranchers, businesses and organizations could benefit from the cost savings. I’m gratified to see so many Oregonians getting much-deserved benefits.”

“Oregon’s communities—both big and small, urban and rural—make our state successful and vibrant,”  Merkley said in the release. “Investing in Oregon’s small businesses, farmers, and ranchers supports strong local economies, especially in the more rural parts of the state. The benefits of these investments stretch to every corner of Oregon, and I’ll continue to champion critical support like this for Oregon’s rural economic opportunities.”

A full list of the funded projects is available on Wyden’s website.


Correction: A previous version of this article said the Verde Light Community Solar Project would generate 8.066 gigawatt hours per year. Oregon Business regrets these errors.




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