I just posted another blog entry about the NCAF Energy conference, What's Next for Weatherization--Pioneers in Community Energy Leader... , that I thought members of this group would be interested to read. What struck me about the NCAF conference is how the DOE weatherization grantees, community action agencies serving low-income households, are moving into a role as energy leaders in their communities. Not only are they serving the poor, but they are also taking a community leadership role as energy efficiency--and renewable energy--pioneers, creating jobs, not just for their own CAA/CAP/CAC staff, but for many for-profit contractors and suppliers as well.

As an example, I've attached a PowerPoint presentation from one of the NCAF presenters, Jim Tierney, Deputy Director, Community Action Team, in rural St. Helens, Or., that shows how his agency is working to support the business development capacity of private contractors, in anticipation of cut backs in his agency budget, post-ARRA.

Tags: NCAF, low-income, weatherization

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Thanks for sharing on this topic, Definitely part of recent discussions. The link above isnt working for me to your blog.
Mike, thanks for pointing out the broken link to my blog post. Should work now!

Tom,

 

I just reviewed the power point, and kudos to Mr. Tierney for his vision. We are a home performance contracting firm that has been doing weatherization for the CAP's for four years now, we have seen some agencies that are hiring their own staff to work as the field repair crews. I have often pondered the impact of those actions on our States when in February of 2012 the funding is nonexistent.

Most States have huge deficits in their unemployment funds already, and when the ARRA funding ends those employees are likely be laid off, further impacting the States deficit.

 

We also have several agencies that use for profit organizations like ours; they have the vision to see the impact of the ARRA funding ending, and are keeping their staff’s lean.

 

What is really concerning to me is we see some municipalities hiring their own wx staff, or transferring a position that they are no longer able to fund to the weatherization program because there is money there for them to use. They do not seem to realize that the impact of not building businesses that will hire, and train employees. The WAP is the best training platform we know of to hone skills, and engender a set of employees that can then take those skills to the private market, making the impact we need in the private sector.

 

This is important for several reasons. Non regulated utilities, (meaning they can charge what they want for power) make up a large portion of our state, and they too are heavy in debt and will have to raise their rates to pay their bills. This will place a larger burden on the citizens that do not qualify for the WAP program in rural areas, which are experiencing extraordinary unemployment rates. The need to have trained professional that will be able to reduce the energy consumption in those private homes is real, and will become clearer in the very near future.

 

The cost of energy is the number one reason for foreclosure as I understand it. Particularly in rural areas, perhaps where they need to commute further for work, or goods. I feel this form of leveraging is mission critical for us at this particular juncture.

 

Great thread, and a great magazine. Thanks Tom!

 

I am taking part in a pilot program here in Colorado called the Colorado Energy Masters Program. Our classroom training will be followed by an intensive amount of volunteering wherein we provide basic audits, outreach and general education to our community about EE.

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