Kristy Hessman

Bend-based bullet manufacturer Nosler, Inc. expects to start saving more than $5,000 a year in electricity expenses because of a recent switch to a more efficient manufacturing system.

By replacing the company's two air compressors with one that adjusts to the actual usage load, rather than maintaining a constant output, the company estimates it will save 145,864 kilowatt hours per year.

In addition to the yearly savings, about 85 percent of the cost of the new air compressor, $35,000, was covered by the Energy Trust of Oregon.

”We knew we had a large opportunity, so we did it,” said Mike Lake, plant manager at Nosler.

In 2001, Nosler underwent a lighting upgrade that Lake said saved the company about $7,000 a year.

The Production Efficiency program through the Energy Trust offers Oregon industrial customers of Pacific Power and Portland General Electric incentives for improving the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes.

The program was designed to take the place of the incentive programs that electric utilities used to offer.

Funding for the program is provided by a 3 percent surcharge on Pacific Power and Portland General Electric customers' utility bills.

The Nosler project took about six months to complete, Lake said.

Nosler, which employees 100 people, produces a full line of bullets for hunting and target shooting.

Roger Neufeld, with RHT Energy Solutions, a company the Energy Trust contracts with for consulting, said a number of different manufacturing companies can take advantage of the program.

”Any company where there is manufacturing, where there is a product being produced that takes energy to produce it (could qualify),” Neufeld said.

”Companies that have hydraulic systems, motors that drive conveyors, air compression systems, fans, any of those types of systems.”

Neufeld said he has worked with Brian's Cabinets in Bend and Seaswirl Boats in Culver to try to find areas that could bring about incentives.

Neufeld also plans to meet with Economic Development for Central Oregon representatives to identify more companies that could benefit from the incentive programs.

The Energy Trust also offers incentive programs to commercial businesses for lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades and for new commercial construction and renovations.

For more information, businesses can call the Energy Trust at 1-866-ENTRUST.

Kristy Hessman can be reached at 541-383-0350 or at .