Posts Tagged Oregon

Washing Machine Rebates in Oregon August 2015

Posted by on Sunday, 9 August, 2015

Washing machine rebate programs are not widespread in every state, but they are available in Oregon. Once again, many Oregon municipalities are using the Energy Star standards to determine which washing machines qualify for the rebates. Energy Star ratings are available for other types of appliances as well, such as refrigerators, and these devices may also qualify for rebates. After looking over a few city websites, it looks like washing machine rebates are available in several Oregon cities for 2015.

After looking at a few rebate programs, it looks like the typical size of a washing machine rebate in Oregon is around $50. Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Sherwood have all announced $50 rebates. Ashland created an extra incentive with its rebate program. A $50 rebate applies when the home uses gas to heat water, but a home with an electric water heater could qualify for a $80 washing machine rebate. Ashland’s program appears relatively unique as other cities with rebate programs in Oregon and Southern California did not offer this incentive. On the other hand, some Southern California cities pay out a slightly larger rebate of $75 for “more efficient” Energy Star washing machines, which doesn’t seem typical for cities in Oregon.

It’s important to check whether a washing machine rebate program is active, since cities may shut down their programs for the year when funds are depleted. The rebate may become available again when the next fiscal year starts, which may not be on January 1, 2016 as some cities use modified calendars. The Hillsboro program appears to be active, although the page does not list dates. The Ashland program also appears to be active right now. The Sherwood program appears active and originally started in July 2012. The date does matter for the Beaverton program; rebates became available for purchases starting in July 2015 and the program lasts for a year or until funds run out. While cities often renew their rebate programs, this isn’t guaranteed.

State-wide or regional washing machine rebate programs may also apply to cities that do not list rebate programs on their own websites. For Oregon, the Energy Trust of Oregon also offers a washing machine rebate program. This non-profit offers a two-tier rebate model, offering a $50 rebate for all Energy Star Appliances and a $70 rebate for very efficient washing machines. To qualify for the extra $20, the washing machine must have a modified energy factor of at least 2.6, indicating high energy efficiency. This program does not seem to be using the other washing machine efficiency standard, integrated water factor, used by rebate programs in Southern California; the integrated water factor measures water usage and a lower number is better. However, washing machines with high integrated modified energy factors were designed for efficiency so they may have low integrated water factors as well. If an appliance qualifies for multiple rebate programs, such as a highly efficient washing machine, applying for the largest rebate available is usually the best decision; some rebate programs are not available to customers who have collected other rebates on the same item.

So the Energy Trust of Oregon appears to be an attractive option for a washing machine rebate in Oregon, both because of the availability of the $70 rebate and because rebates may not be available in every city. As a side note, it appears that shoppers who buy an energy-efficient washing machine from certain Sears stores in Oregon can automatically get the rebate without taking any other steps; however, the Energy Trust website only lists four stores where the program is in effect. Watch for other retailers that offer similar deals. The Energy Trust of Oregon washing machine rebate program also has a 60-day time limit after purchase for eligibility.

Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit Program

Posted by on Saturday, 15 May, 2010

Oregon offers tax credits for many businesses that invest in renewable energy as well as reductions in their overall energy usage. Although this program is subject to cutbacks because of overall economic conditions, it still provides many benefits for businesses that reduce their energy usage and carbon emissions.

The program provides benefits in several areas, according to the State of Oregon. A major area is conservation, and the program allows tax credits for business owners who set up projects that conserve resources such as water and electricity through improvements to the air conditioning and irrigation systems at their companies. Qualification for this project does involve the business owner submitting an application to the State of Oregon and explaining why their project is eligible for tax benefits. The project has to be at least ten percent more energy efficient than the typical systems which other companies install.

The Oregon tax credit is a percentage of installment costs, not the full installment cost. At a thirty five percent rate, it does provide a significant reduction in construction costs, and does create an economic stimulus effect. Oregon requires a relatively short payback period, less than fifteen years. This is short because large improvements may be designed to last decades, and if a project lasts for fifty years, demand may be high enough that the cost will not allow payback in fifty years. Payback periods are affected by overall energy costs, so even if a new refrigerator or air conditioning system does not appear to have a payback period of less than fifteen years now, it might when gas prices sharply jump during a crisis in the future. You’ll still have to make the calculation with reasonable numbers now when sending in the tax credit application, to get the approval of the Oregon auditors.

This project is now scaled back, not just because of the economy, but because of widespread fraud. According to Oregon Live, the previous regulations allowed businesses to collect money from the state of Oregon without providing any energy saving benefits. The new compromise bill allows wind power generators to still receive tax credits for building new turbines and wind farms, and reduces abuses such as dividing up the wind farms to receive greater amounts of Oregon taxpayer money. A clawback provision allows Oregon to reclaim subsidies on projects that do not continually meet energy efficiency standards. The government agency, DSIRE, offers a very long list of the types of projects eligible for Oregon energy efficiency grants, including local grants such as cities and counties that subsidize solar, wind power, and other renewable energy.

The Wind Farms of Oregon

Posted by on Friday, 30 April, 2010

A large field of wind turbines at Shepherds Flat is under construction in Oregon. The project is nearing completion, and was blocked by the federal government. The claim was that it might interfere with an Oregon radar installation. Now the federal government has withdrawn its opposition and decided to spend additional money upgrading the radar system so that it will function with the wind turbines operating nearby. The wind farm project is now under way once more.

Continuation of the wind farm is a Bipartisan Project. Both of Oregon’s Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, supported this project, along with Republican Congressman Greg Walden. This farm will definitely help Oregon, which is suffering one of the highest rates of unemployment during the financial crisis.

The Shepherds Flat project is one of the largest proposed wind farms in the country, providing more than eight hundred megawatts of power at peak output. Companies are considering installing several other large wind farms in the area, near Arlington, Oregon. Arlington, with about five hundred residents, is famous for its mayor who stripped down to her underwear and posed on top of a fire engine. The mayor lost her next election over that incident, but only by three votes. This is a rural county, with the Columbia River which separates Oregon and Washington on its north border, so a large wind farm with more than three hundred turbines provides a very large economic boost to the local region.

Many wind farms are located in an area called the Columbia Plateau. This area is exposed to strong wind and may provide enough power for several states in the west. The Oregon coast is also a great source of wind energy, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Oregon, California, Washington, and other western states have passed state laws requiring power to be supplied by renewable sources in the near future. More surveys and regulations are required for major wind farms, and the Shepherds Flat proposal is one of the largest. According to Oregon Climate Change, farms that generate less than a hundred and five megawatts may apply to the county authorities for regulatory approval, and larger projects such as the Shepherds Flat plant must get state approval from the Oregon Department of Energy.