By The Register-Guard
It was sort of like an “American Idol” competition — except that the only people allowed to vote were the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Greenpower customers.
A total of 2,615 such customers did exactly that, and Early Childhood CARES was declared the winner of a $50,000 Greenpower grant.
The EC Cares project will include an 800-square-foot photovoltaic array on the roof of the agency’s main office building at 299 E. 18th Ave. EWEB Commissioner John Simpson announced the award during the weekend’s Earth Day celebration.
EC CARES plans to solicit bids for the solar project later this spring and to install the photovoltaic system by this fall.
Other finalists for the $50,000 grant were Lord Leebrick Theatre Co., River Road Park and Recreation District, and the University of Oregon Solar Radiation and Monitoring Lab. The finalist applications are available for review at www.eweb.org/greenpower/grant/2012.
Part of the UO’s College of Education, EC CARES provides early intervention and early childhood special education services to infants, toddlers and preschool-age children in Lane County.
More than 1,600 children with developmental delays and disabilities receive educational services from the nonprofit agency each year. Services include home visits, parent-toddler groups, specialized preschools, consultation to children in community preschools, as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy.
“This is a dream come true for us,” said Judy Newman, co-director of EC CARES, in a statement about the Greenpower grant. “One of our values is to be as energy efficient as possible. That’s not only good for the planet, but it helps maximize our resources to serve kids and families.”
Since 2007, several thousand EWEB customers have opted to support clean renewable energy by purchasing EWEB Greenpower.
They buy $1.50 or $10 “blocks” of Greenpower, or voluntarily dedicate all of their energy use to Greenpower, by paying an extra penny per kilowatt-hour of consumption. Greenpower represents nearly 4 percent of the power used by all EWEB customers.
The utility developed the Greenpower grant program to reinvest Greenpower funds into smaller-scale renewable energy or education projects.