In 1970, a group of concerned citizens cam together to commit themselves to bringing clean air and clean water to this country. And now, 50 years later, as we reflect on all we have accomplished in this regard, we also acknowledge the need to address the environmental challenges of today.

In this spirit, Douglas County Smart Energy, a coalition of major utilities, nonprofits, business and citizen advocates have worked on the twin goals of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Over the last four and a half years, this coalition has worked on the following:

  • An extensive campaign promoting incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon for the purchase of energy efficient ductless heat pumps.
  • Partnered with the FISH Food Pantry, Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center and the Glide Fire District to obtain funding for the installation of solar panels on their facilities.
  • Worked with the cities of Roseburg and Myrtle Creek for funding the installation of electric charging stations.
  • Promotion and distribution of information on the benefits of electric vehicles and available incentives.
  • Under the umbrella of a grant received by the nonprofit Sustainable Northwest and in partnership with other non-profits across the state, participating in prize winning development of solar energy in our county.

Worked with the state of Oregon on implementation of Community Solar.

  • Assisted in organizing the annual Smart Energy Green and Solar Tour.
  • We are in communication with county, city of Roseburg and the Roseburg School District on long term planning for energy resiliency.

In a rural community such as ours, it is critical we work together to benefit from each others strengths and resources. To appreciate the breadth of Douglas County Smart Energy, it is worth noting who the members are and briefly how they contribute to promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy:

Douglas Electric Cooperative represented by Todd Munsey: Proud of their record on clean energy, contributor to our monthly newspaper column and host to our monthly meetings.

Pacific Power represented by Sam Carter: Oversees the regional Blue Sky program which has funded solar projects. They have also funded electric charging stations in the county and throughout the state.

Melanie MacKinnon: Solar Energy Consultant who has assisted in obraining funding for numerous solar projects. She also closely tracks the state’s efforts to implement Community Solar.

David Reeck: Worked closely with the city of Roseburg on the installation of electric charging stations.

Diana Larson: Electric vehicle owner who has worked with the city of Myrtle Creek to install an electric charging station.

John Lapham: Contractor, owner of Black Dogwoods LLC and key player in promoting energy efficiency.

Al Walker: Retired solar contractor and pioneer in developing solar energy in Douglas County.

Dennis Lutwen: Electric vehicle owner and leader in education outreach on the benefits and available incentives for electric vehicles.

Nathan Baily: Assists in organizing the annual Smart Energy Green and Solar Tour highlighting the latest advances in these areas.

NeighborWorks Umpqua represented by Lacy Tai: Major developer of low and moderate income housing featuring energy efficiency and solar panels. Fiscal sponsor of Douglas County Smart Energy.

United Community Action Network represented by Heather King: Provides education on energy efficiency to low income households.

Polly Stirling: Board member of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition and assists in the coordination of the numerous activities of the group

M.A. Hansen: Citizen advocate emphasizing waste reduction as an important element in lowering energy use.

Stuart Liebowitz: Board member of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition and facilitator of the monthly meetings of Douglas County Smart Energy.

Because of the commitment, knowledge and expertise of these organizations and individuals, Douglas County Smart Energy will build on its success and continue in the spirit of this, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Stuart Liebowitz has been a resident of Douglas County for 40 years.

This column is a monthly feature of Douglas County Smart Energy, a project of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition. For more information on energy efficiency, call 541-672-9819.

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Thank you to all the folks working hard to keep the world livable in the present and for future generations.

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