OSU expands energy program for rural businesses

Looking for energy savings

Oregon State University is making the services of its Energy Efficiency Center available to Oregon farmers and rural businesses looking to save money on energy expenses.

The program, which provides assessments of energy use and recommendations for savings, is open to any small rural Oregon business or farm — as defined by the Small Business Administration — that makes more than half of its gross income from agriculture.

OSU reports that a pilot program showed that those participating in the program saved an average of 10 percent of their annual energy cost.

The service is supported by a two-year grant from the Rural Energy for America Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We can work with small farms or larger agricultural operations that spend anywhere from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on energy," said Nathan Keeley, manager of the new program and a mechanical engineering graduate student at OSU, in a news release.

This is an expansion for the OSU Energy Efficiency Center from a similar initiative supported by the Department of Energy for industrial clients. During the past 24 years, the Industrial Assessment Program recommended more than $18 million of savings for local industrial clients.

Most of the energy assessment cost will be paid for by the federal government, leaving only a flat fee of $370 for any farm or business operation to participate.


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