A new policy approved at the OPALCO Board’s July 18, 2013 meeting opens the door for non-profit organizations to collaborate with the Co-op to create new opportunities for energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy production in San Juan County.
OPALCO's current Energy Efficiency & Conservation program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), provides great benefits to our members in the way of rebates and incentives, but is limited by a constraint that the member home or business must be heated with electricity.
Policy 28 will serve to accelerate energy efficiency and conservation measures by inviting qualified participating non-profits to seek grant funding for programs, incentives and education opportunities without that constraint.
"Our goal," said OPALCO General Manager Randy Cornelius, "is to better serve our members and reduce our co-op energy load by making best use of the resources available in the region. We have a real talent pool in San Juan County: smart, creative and experienced people who – we hope – will help us to develop new ideas and funding avenues for education, outreach and greater energy efficiency."
OPALCO’s Member Owned Renewable Energy (MORE) program includes 113 local renewable generators, interconnected to OPALCO’s distribution system. Policy 28 will also open the door for more local renewable power through community solar and other grant-funded activities and incentives. OPALCO is currently investigating whether any of our properties would be an appropriate site for a community solar installation. If so, a qualified non-profit could install, maintain and manage a solar generator with many community members sharing in the investment – and energy credits produced.
To qualify, organizations must be an independent non-profit entity under Washington State Law, be self-funding and governed by a board and advisors drawn from all of the ferry-served islands in OPALCO’s service area. OPALCO will contract with qualified non-profits through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes the scope of work and standards. Policy 28 and the MOU are available online at www.opalco.com. Interested non-profits can also contact Bev Madan (email@example.com) for more information.
OPALCO is a member-owned cooperative electrical utility serving about 11,000 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 95% greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937 to bring electricity to rural islanders.