With approximately 210,000 population, and located 20 miles from the Washington-Idaho border, Spokane, Washington is the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest and the second largest city in Washington. Spokane remains today an important rail and shipping center.
The City of Spokane, WA began working with the New Energy Cities team when we conducted a Workshop on October 13-14, 2009. Then Spokane Mayor Mary Verner brought together representatives from the business, nonprofit, and academic communities, as well as the public sector and Avista, the utility that serves the Spokane area, to explore various new energy solutions that would create local jobs and decrease dependence upon fossil fuel.
Subsequent to the workshop, Avista loaned an executive to the City to assess the opportunities for energy efficiency and developed an energy efficiency loan program with Sustainable Local Investment Partners (SLIP) to administer a revolving loan fund that will finance energy efficiency and conservation improvements recommended in commercial and residential audits. The lenders are backed by a loan loss reserve fund created with $1M that Avista received in credit enhancement funding from Washington state. The loan loss reserve will allow the lenders to offer discounted interest rates or some other type of advantaged terms.