The Southern Oregon Clean Energy Alliance (SOCEA) initially consisted of five Southern Oregon Counties, and has since grown to include eight counties in the southwest corner of the state. The SOCEA counties are: Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Lane, and Josephine. All these counties have been hard hit by the contraction of the traditional timber economy. This fact, combined with the potential, and very likely, loss of federal payments to counties, created a social and economic crisis in the region.
But with crisis comes opportunity, and the counties recognized that regional cooperation is essential to a prosperous future. The counties are rich in the natural resources, innovative spirit, and the will necessary to develop high quality clean energy projects. Moreover, Governor Kitzhaber made development of renewable energy sources one of his highest priorities, and the Oregon University System was at the cutting edge of clean energy technology. Finally, the counties recognized that together they would have opportunities to influence policy and economic development in a way that none of them could alone. Because of that convergence of interests, the counties decided to work in collaboration to create an alliance aimed at attracting and stimulating the development of alternative energy and energy efficiency projects, also known as “clean energy” projects.
- Inventory opportunities for clean energy development as part of an overall sustainable economic development effort;
- Pursue projects in a coordinated, supportive fashion;
- Pool political resources in the service of clean energy projects;
- Maximize the utilization of state and federal incentives and resources that support clean energy project development and associated benefits such as reducing carbon and other ecosystem services; and
- Coordinate efforts with the seven California counties involved in the North Coast Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, which have expressed interest in coordinating clean energy development across the broader region.