Energy-efficiency program gets early money from BP

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 26, 2013 

The Community Energy Challenge will receive significant funding sooner than expected in order to continue its program.

Earlier this year, the program was awarded $2 million from the Northwest Clean Air Agency with the goal of reducing greenhouse gases. The program works with homeowners and businesses in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties to improve energy efficiency.

The funding comes from BP Cherry Point Refinery to help offset the additional carbon dioxide that will be released from its new ultra-low sulfur diesel unit. The plan was for BP to fund the award through the agency six months after the unit was operational, which would have been later this year, said Shawn Collins, manager of the program. When BP heard the program might be interrupted, officials decided to provide a portion of the funding sooner.

"This will make sure that contractors stay busy and that our clients don't experience a lag in service," Collins said.

The Community Energy Challenge is being operated by two nonprofit organizations, the Opportunity Council and Sustainable Connections. So far, the challenge has created 47 jobs and more than $10 million in direct economic activity, according to Alex Ramel, energy and policy manager with Sustainable Connections.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read his business blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service