Wind Power Help for Low-Income Housing

The State of Washington will receive US$1 million to help low-income households access affordable, clean energy supplied by locally managed wind power, Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) announced.

Olympia, Washington – October 10, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The State of Washington will receive US$1 million to help low-income households access affordable, clean energy supplied by locally managed wind power, Senator Patty Murray announced. The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) REACH (Residential Energy Assistance Challenge) project allows Washington to continue addressing the inequitable energy burden of low-income households in the state and to help low-income families become self-sufficient. The project’s primary goals are to develop 12 MW of wind power dedicated to low-income households and to reduce the energy burden of 12,000 families currently eligible for federal assistance by 20 percent. This will be done by helping agencies that serve low-income families acquire and operate wind turbines, exchanging the energy produced with other power companies for rate discounts and rebates for their low-income energy customers. These agencies will also receive help in becoming part owners in cooperatively owned wind farms with blocks of power set aside for low-income households. “This funding demonstrates our commitment to providing long-term solutions for people and communities during very challenging economic times,” Murray said. “I am proud that Washington state is leading the way with such innovative approaches to energy assistance.” The Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) will administer the three-year grant through A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity (A W.I.S.H.). The Bellingham-based contractor has provided training and technical assistance, expert witnesses, program design, strategic planning, and advocacy for public interest clients across the nation. A W.I.S.H was also the lead contractor for Washington’s current REACH grant. “This precedent-setting grant will allow us to continue the successful partnerships we developed with stakeholders during our first REACH grant by creating a slice of fixed-price power that is both green and affordable, dedicated for low-income households in the state,” said Michael Karp, president and chief executive officer of A W.I.S.H. The state’s public and private energy utilities, public interest nonprofit organizations, foundations, government, and the private sector will have key roles in this initiative. “Solutions have to be found on the energy generation side in order to stop the moving target of unaffordable energy costs for those most in need,” said Karp. “We are confident that we have a solid foundation of partners and good will to assist in the quest for a sustainable energy future that is decentralized, reliable, cost effective, safe, and secure.” Proponents said securing long-term, fixed-price energy sources and non-federal energy assistance through the wind power industry will increase self-sufficiency of low-income families for the next 20 years — the minimum expected lifespan of a wind power plant. A W.I.S.H.’s work on this project with other community-based organizations will also promote economic development in the state.
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