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The department announces more than $1.25 million in funding for renewable energy projects

The Oregon Department of Energy announced last week six recipients of Renewable Energy Development Grant funds, totaling $1.25 million in funding.

According to the Department of Energy, the RED Grant program supports Oregon businesses, nonprofits and other organizations investing in renewable energy systems that use biomass, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, landfill gas, biogas, wave, tidal or ocean energy to produce electricity.

The department previously announced $2.75 million in available grant funds divided into two tiers for large and small renewable energy projects. The department received six applications for large solar projects and the agency awarded grants to all six, ranging from $90,000 up to $250,000.

A $250,000 grant will help fund a new utility-scale solar facility with battery storage near Christmas Valley in Lake County. A $90,000 grant will support solar installations at housing communities serving lower-income families, older adults, and people with disabilities in La Grande. In Wallowa County, a $250,000 grant will support a community solar installation that allows low- or moderate-income Oregonians, who may not otherwise be able to install their own solar arrays, to access renewable energy.

Applications were scored based on a number of criteria, including the amount of energy generated, job creation, community benefits, and more. Points were also awarded for projects that were designed with resilience in mind. Renewable systems that are capable of supplying electricity when the larger grid is unavailable – due to extreme weather or other emergencies – earned more points.

ODOE staff expect to announce the second round of grant awardees for projects smaller than 300 kilowatts later this summer, according to a press release. It will be the final set of awardees under the RED Grant program, which launched in 2012.

"The Oregon Department of Energy is proud to support projects that add renewable generation across Oregon," Director Janine Benner said in the release. "And we were pleased to see applications this year that will help expand access to renewable energy for low-income Oregonians and other underserved communities."

After a technical review, ODOE will finalize performance agreements with the awardees. Funds are allocated after the project is completed and operational, and once all conditions of the performance agreements are met.

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