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Published: Wednesday, 4/13/2011

Financing hampers Oregon schools turbine project

Energy company seeking investors

BY JULIE McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Financing issues continue to hamper Oregon City Schools' bids to have a $7.4 million wind turbine project at three schools, a two-phase plan at first expected to start operations by the end of this school year or start of summer.

Dean Sandwisch, the district's director of business affairs, said partner SUREnergy of Sandusky still is trying to line up investors for the project.

"It's definitely moving. It's just not as fast as anyone in here would like to see it move," Mr. Sandwisch told school board members last week.

If financing is secured in a month, the first turbines still could be constructed within coming months, Mr. Sandwisch said after the meeting. However, there still is a way to go to get funding, he said.

The district wants to install six midsize turbines that will both boost educational research and generate a large chunk of electricity needs. There will be two 750-kilowatt turbines at Clay High School and, eventually, two 100-kilowatt turbines each at Eisenhower Middle School and Coy Elementary School.

SUREnergy and investors will own the turbines for 15 years through a limited liability corporation before ownership reverts to the district.

Unlike a nonprofit school, the limited liability corporation will be eligible for federal stimulus money, tax incentives, state grants, and other government programs.



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