WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced the City of Ashland has received a $10 million loan from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Rural Energy Savings Program to help finance a relending program in the city for qualified consumers who will implement energy efficiency measures that will help combat climate chaos and save consumers money.
“This access to capital provides opportunity for Ashland community members to make critical improvements and upgrades to their electric services,” said Merkley, who created the Rural Energy Savings Program. “Investing in energy efficiency renovations is a win-win-win for saving consumers money, protecting the environment, and creating good-paying jobs in construction and Oregon manufacturing.”
“Often times, folks in rural areas are the first to feel the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather conditions,” Wyden said. “These communities rely on more advanced and expensive utilities every year to curb these effects and live comfortably in their homes. This federal investment to Ashland is key to making efficient technology within reach for the communities that need it the most.”
The USDA lending announcement heading to Ashland Municipal Electric Utility comes from the Rural Development Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP)—a bipartisan program Merkley authored that has helped thousands of families and businesses in rural communities across America make critical energy efficiency improvements to their homes and workplaces. Low-cost loans from RESP are provided to rural electric cooperatives and utilities, which helps provide homeowners or businesses the opportunity to make energy efficiency improvements with favorable financing options. These loans may be used for upgrades to heating, lighting, other appliances, and insulation, and conversions to more efficient or renewable energy sources.
“The City of Ashland is so pleased to partner with USDA to create a re-lending program that will help Ashland residents weatherize and electrify their homes to improve energy efficiency across our community,” said Ashland Mayor, Tonya Graham. “Significant investment like this loan program is key to moving at the scale necessary to address the climate crisis and help Ashland meet its climate targets. The program will focus on assisting low and moderate income homeowners, which helps the City with its affordability goals – a win-win investment!”
This lending is expected to benefit 21,600 Oregonians located in southwest Oregon over the course of the next twenty years.