Oregon's retail electricity restructuring law, SB 1149, includes a requirement for the state's two largest utilities, Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, to collect a 3% public purpose charge from all customers. Ten percent of the collected public purpose funds are designated for energy efficiency programs in public K-12 schools within the utilities' service areas. School improvements can include new windows, upgraded heating and cooling systems, building envelope improvements, energy efficient lighting, domestic hot water systems, and more.
The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) administers the public purpose funds for schools, along with Education Service Districts and local school districts. ODOE has complete information for schools available on its website, including program guidelines, a list of eligible schools, qualified auditing and commissioning firms, and information on other financing options for efficiency projects.
Funds may be used for reimbursement of cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, energy education, purchasing alternative fuels, and renewable energy projects. School districts must first complete an energy audit and then may implement approved energy efficiency measures; once the school has implemented all approved energy efficiency measures, then it may conduct new energy audits and education programs.
School districts may also receive incentives through the Energy Incentive Program (Small Premium Projects or Competitively Selected Projects) or the Energy Trust of Oregon, though schools must utilize SB 1149 School Program funds before Energy Trust incentives.