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Introduction to the Oregon Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Technology (EEAST)
HB 2626 (2009) created the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Technology Act of 2009 (EEAST) as part of the SELP statute (ORS 470).  EEAST provides easy-to-use financing for residential and commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Oregon by providing 100% upfront long term, low-interest loans to property owners that can be paid back on the utility bill and transferred to a subsequent owner.
 EEAST will make it easier for home and business owners to complete energy efficient and renewable energy projects in their homes or businesses and will help put Oregonians to work.
 It is financed through state bonding and private loans that are paid back over a long period of time by property owners through savings in their utility bills.
EEAST primary goals are the following:
  1. Provide capital at the lowest possible cost for the purpose of supporting energy efficiency and conservation and renewable energy projects for residential and commercial structures;
  2. Expand, and to simplify taking advantage of, opportunities for small scale local energy project financing;
  3. Leverage multiple sources of public and private capital through a unified and strategic funding mechanism;
  4. Provide technical and financing information to the public and to businesses;
  5. Foster energy savings;
  6. Stimulate job growth; and
  7. Help substantially reduce carbon emissions.
 EEAST loans can be for up to $40,000 for residential and small commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy technology with the primary repayment to be through the customer utility bill (on-bill payment). There are no cap limitations on multi-family structures. The law also provides a mechanism to bring in grant money to work in concert with the loan program.
 A home or business owner would contact a participating Project Manager like the Energy Trust of Oregon (www.energytrust.org)  or possibly their consumer-owned utility, who would then conduct an energy audit of the property.  The Project Manager would suggest a base efficiency package, along with an assortment of other possible options, including non-traditional technologies.  Homeowners can use loan proceeds to install insulation, weatherization, windows, heating and cooling systems, renewable energy systems or other energy-saving improvements. The home or business owner would choose the package that works for them, the project would be completed, and the loan for the work would be paid back through the savings on the property owner’s energy bill. Loan payments would be offset by reductions in electricity and gas costs due to lower usage.
HB 2626 also authorizes a local improvement district for local governments to establish a program to make loans, financed with the proceeds and interest earnings of revenue bonds, to pay for cost-effective energy improvements to qualifying real properties.
Currently EEAST is required to run through a series of phased pilot programs throughout the state in various geographic locations.  An interim evaluation of pilots will be provided to the legislature in October 2010 by the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy.  This evaluation will review various components of program design and operation along with market response.  This evaluation will make recommended changes, if any, that would be needed to make the program more viable with statewide application. ODOE will be giving preference to proposed EEAST pilots that are commercial project loan program.  ODOE will also support the implementation of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs.
The program application and guidelines must be provided statewide no later than June 30 , 2011.
For question about the EEAST program, contact Paul Zollner 503.378.3493.