Community Energy Planning Workshops Update: Talent gets the ball rolling

Six communities around the state have applied to have Sustainable Northwest, Energy Trust of Oregon, ODOE, Wallowa Resources, and LCRI hold a workshop to discuss community energy planning strategies. The community in Talent is leading the way in building support and excitement for this next step in integrating renewable energy and energy efficiency into their community’s long term goals. Check out the front page article on the Talent News and Review.



Residents Plan to Save Water, Cut Fuel Costs, and Transition Faster to Cleaner Energy Like Solar

Talent Residents Launch Project on Energy Costs, Climate, Jobs, and Water

Talent residents have started an exciting new community project that aims to…

  • Make it easier for residents, businesses, schools, and city government to save energy and to use solar power and other forms of cleaner energy.
  • Create local jobs making buildings more energy efficient and installing cleaner energy systems.
  • Use water wisely as climate change reduces average snowpack in our mountains.
  • Encourage local food sources and community gardens.
  • Improve transportation systems and take other steps to improve quality of life in Talent.

With help from the local community organization, Rogue Climate, a group of Talent residents formed Rogue Climate Talent to ask local residents for ideas, study what other rural towns have done, and partner with existing agencies and organizations.

Rogue Climate Talent will be holding a community workshop in partnership with Together for Talent on Saturday, September 19, to discuss practical solutions that are working in other communities.

Getting residents’ views

Rogue Climate Talent has held a series of living room conversations in various neighborhoods and is conducting survey of local residents to ask about trends we are seeing in our valley. These include higher average temperatures, more fires and smoke, declining forest health, and reduced snowpack for our water supply.

Many residents say they are concerned that our quality of life will be threatened if these trends increase. Jobs and businesses that are related to tourism and retirement services will be in danger as well if our region becomes less attractive as a place to visit or live. Jobs related to agriculture and forestry will be threatened by reduced water supplies, increased heat, and more insect infestations.

Most of those who filled out surveys said they are interested in practical solutions to increase energy efficiency and transition faster to cleaner forms of energy.

“I already take small steps like recycling as much as I can, but I’m looking for bigger improvements we could make as a community to have more impact,” one resident said.

Learning from other communities

A key goal of Rogue Climate Talent is to learn what steps are working in other communities so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

With that in mind, Rogue Climate Talent and Together for Talent successfully applied for Talent to take part in a statewide program called “Making Energy Work for Rural Oregon.” Many communities across Oregon applied for the limited spots in this program that were awarded for 2015. Talent was one of the six chosen, along with Klamath Falls, Hood River, John Day, Dufur, and Douglas County.

The fact that Talent was chosen is a reflection of our active residents with a track record of making innovative community improvements. It also helped that Rogue Climate has a reputation for bringing people together for practical energy and climate solutions. In addition, we have city leadership that welcomes and supports new projects that benefit everyone.

Making Energy Work for Rural Oregon will help Talent and other communities to…

  • Identify energy-related projects that can save money, create new jobs, and provide environmental benefits, like reducing climate-changing carbon pollution in our air.
  • Set goals for energy savings and energy generation, and learn how to meet those goals.
  • Make connections to energy experts who can help develop renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

The program will be facilitated by leaders from a regional nonprofit called Sustainable Northwest, together with Lake County Resource Initiative and Wallowa Resources.

Lake County is on its way to being 100% free of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It has 22 projects involving renewable energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal that save county residents and businesses over $1.9 million.

Wallowa County has solar, biomass, and micro-hydro projects that save over $2.4 million on energy costs. 

These communities will share their practical experience at the Rogue Climate Talent community workshop on Saturday, September 19.

Partnering with existing organizations and agencies

Rogue Climate Talent will be partnering with community members, Together for Talent, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District, Rogue Valley Council of Governments, the Rogue Energy Alliance and more to identify and carry out projects.

Eventually, Talent residents hope to encourage similar projects in other Rogue Valley communities to speed energy and climate change progress throughout our region.

For more information, or to get involved, please go to or call Hannah Sohl at 541-840-1065.