© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

City of Talent to receive support to create more ‘resilient’ power grid

Los Muertos Crew

The City of Talent in the Rogue Valley is one of three communities in Oregon that will get help from the Department of Energy on a new program to create a more resilient power grid.

Along with Pendleton and Warm Springs, Talent was recently selected for the Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative, a new program of the DOE’s Office of Electricity aimed at “underserved and frontline communities.” As a participant, the Pacific Northwest National Lab will provide technical assistance to assess battery storage feasibility, locations for community solar projects, and do economic analysis, among other things.

The non-profit Rogue Climate applied for the initiative to prepare Talent for future energy challenges in the face of extreme weather.

“Essentially trying to create a system that would be more resilient to potential power outages and things like that by incorporating battery storage,” says Maeve Hogan, an AmeriCorps member working with Rogue Climate.

“The [Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative] supports underserved communities’ use of energy storage as a means of increasing resilience and maximizing energy flexibility in the face of a changing climate,” reads a statement from the office of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, who announced the participating Oregon towns.

The exact details of Talent’s energy project are not defined, but Hogan says this initiative will contribute to the town’s clean energy plan and hopefully lay the groundwork for a “shovel-ready” project that could incorporate battery storage and community solar in the future.

“Battery storage enables us to ensure access to power even when it goes out, even for a limited amount of time which can be really life-saving. As we’ve seen, extreme heat and smoke and fire can be really life-threatening,” Hogan says.

Talent, Pendleton and Warm Springs are among 14 communities nationwide that are participating in the program.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.