Lake City, Colo., installs weather station from Equipment Loan Program

Western Equipment Loan Manager Gary Hoffmann (left) and GCEA Energy Use Specialist Alantha Garrison talk to Lake City Community School students about the town’s new weather station. (Photo by Gunnison County Electric Association)
Western Equipment Loan Manager Gary Hoffmann (left) and GCEA Energy Use Specialist Alantha Garrison talk to Lake City Community School students about the town’s new weather station. (Photo by Gunnison County Electric Association)

Gunnison County Electric Association You are leaving (GCEA) has joined the list of Western customers who have borrowed a weather station from our Equipment Loan Program to teach students and their parents about the weather in their community.

Equipment Loan Manager Gary Hoffmann traveled to Lake City, Colorado, in November to deliver the unit and help technicians from GCEA install it on a theater. The station collects data on temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall, solar energy and more. The information is available on the Weather Underground website You are leaving

Lake City Community School students, teachers and district officials attended an unveiling event for the weather station organized by Philip Virden, the theater owner. Teachers plan to incorporate the weather station data into science lesson plans. The data will help the next generation of consumers gain a better understanding of how the weather relates to energy use and renewable energy generation.

When school is out, GCEA will continue to use the weather station data to monitor conditions for service calls in the Lake City area. GCEA Energy Use Specialist Alantha Garrison hopes the data can help cooperative members to better understand their utility bills, as well. Both Garrison and Virden are observers for the National Weather Service, so they appreciate the value of accurate weather information.

We look forward to following GCEA and the community as they put their weather data to use in the coming year. You can read more about the weather station in the GCEA News (Page 9). To learn more about education tools available from Western’s Equipment Loan Program, contact Gary Hoffmann.

AWEA state wind energy forum comes to Colorado

Oct. 1, 2014
University of Denver, Colorado

The American Wind Energy Association is inviting regional stakeholders to participate in the 2014 Colorado Wind Energy ForumRedirecting to a non-government site on Oct. 1, 2014, at the University of Denver.

Colorado is on the forefront of wind energy expansion, making it an ideal location for a state-level wind forum. It consistently ranks among the top 10 wind energy states in the country, with installed wind capacity of more than 2,300 MW. In economic terms, that represents an impressive $4 billion in wind investments. At this scale, wind is increasingly cost-competitive, and utilities like Xcel are purchasing more wind power in Colorado to lock in fixed, low-price electricity to save consumers money.

Attendees at the second annual forum can look forward to exploring the current wind market landscape, business opportunities, environmental and political challenges and economic benefits related to wind energy in Colorado. Speakers will cover new developments and different perspectives including EPA’s release of the draft carbon regulations; the implementation of SB252, which expanded the state’s renewable energy standard; and the development of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision and its implications for Colorado.

The lunch table topics, last year’s most popular session, gives participants the opportunity to focus on the details in smaller groups. Experts will lead discussions on topics ranging from wind basics and myths to state and national policy to the latest technology developments.

A reception immediately following the forum will continue the dialogue, foster networking and bring partners together to further Colorado’s wind future.

The conference agenda is designed to appeal to stakeholders from all facets of the wind industry. Policy makers, manufacturers, community leaders, financial professionals and power providers should plan to commit one day to acquiring relevant, current, pivotal information related to Colorado’s wind energy landscape. Register online, or contact Larry Flowers, 720-635-4741, for more information. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Holy Cross Energy Employees Collect Over Two Tons of Food!

Holy Cross Energy employees proudly display the results of their successful May food drive. As many as 14 percent of Colorado residents may experience food hardship. (Photo by Holy Cross Energy)

During the month of May, Holy Cross Energy Redirecting to a non-government site (HCE) employees collected over 2.2 tons (4,434 pounds) of non-perishable food. The food will be distributed to a variety of area charities including Salvation Army, Eagle, Colo., Food Pantry, Lift-Up, and Advocate Safehouse. In addition, donations of pet food will be provided to the Colorado Animal Rescue (C.A.R.E) facility in Glenwood Springs, Colo.

According to a 2011 USDA survey, 1 in 7 people in Colorado experience food hardships.  For Holy Cross, that unfortunately suggests that nearly 5,600 of their consumers could be dealing with this circumstance.  Thanks to the generosity of the communities the cooperative serves and Holy Cross employees, recent collection efforts may help improve the quality of life for those less fortunate.

Western congratulates Holy Cross Energy for working to make the food drive a success, and for showing such commitment to its community.  Source: Holy Cross Energy, 6/10/13

Geothermal heat pump webinar series begins in January

Start the New Year by broadening your knowledge about an energy-efficient heating and cooling strategy that can help you meet load management goals and increase customer satisfaction. The Colorado Geo-energy and Heat Pump Association Redirecting to a non-government site (CoGEHPA) is offering three webinars on geothermal heat pump (GHP) technology.

Here’s the lineup:

The first webinar focuses on working with Colorado’s primary power provider, but utility and HVAC professionals all over the country will benefit from the two February events.

The registration fee is $25 per webinar, or free to CoGEHPA members.

The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office Planning Horizon

Joani Matranga, Western Regional Representative, Colorado Governor’s Energy Office

The bad news is that Colorado’s energy efficiency rating according to ACEEE slipped to 19th in the nation. The good news is that states are leading the way to develop a clean energy economy.

While the issue of climate change is a non-starter with the public, we can get most of the way toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions with energy efficiency policies, which have more public support. The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) has written a climate action plan that will be coming out soon. Energy efficiency is a key part of the plan.

Over the last four years, the state has passed more than 50 energy-related legislations. Those policies and programs got a big boost from the $180 million in Recovery funds GEO received.

Broad renewable energy deployment is still hampered by lack of information, capital and services. GEO’s RechargeColorado program is the one stop shop to get information to commercial and residential energy users. Starting Oct. 27 Recharge Colorado will launch a marketing blitz to push out the program’s available funding. There is a lot of money left for appliances and insulation, and for renewable energy systems, as well.

To address the financing issues, GEO is working with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority to offer retrofitting loans to small businesses. Green Business Loans are available for starting up manufacturing operations to produce energy efficiency and renewable energy equipment. Homeowners can access Clean Energy Financing for homeowners to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds are available to fund projects of $50 million or more. The state legislature has approved the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, but it is on hold at the Federal level.

Many Recovery-funded services have been launched and are going strong. Energy performance contracting is successfully helping schools and public buildings improve energy efficiency where bond issues can’t be passed. GEO is working with local entities to tighten building codes. Although new home starts in the state are flat, Energy Star for Homes has been going well. The Main Street Efficiency program is building capacity in local communities to improve energy efficiency in rural areas. Also, an Industrial Challenge is calling on the state’s 100 largest energy users to reduce their consumption this year.

GEO has released the Renewable Energy Development Infrastructure Report listing strategies for the electric sector. A key finding is that energy efficiency can help utilities avoid building new generation.

Federal grants have been a great source of direct funding for cities and counties developing their own sustainability plans. For 52 rural communities, 18 community energy coordinators have been hired. Most of these are nonprofits that provide technical assistance to rural communities. People are more open to addressing water, waste and energy issues.

The city of Boulder received a $25 million Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant to partner with Denver and Garfield counties to replicate programs that upgrade building efficiency. Another $5 million EECBG went to Eagle to do the same with Pitkin and Gunnison counties.

Going forward, the state of the economy continues to drive change. People are also relatively concerned for the environment, the governor has shown leadership and public/private partnerships have been very productive.

However, to reach GEO goals, the qualified workforce needs to grow. Rural cooperatives are still trying to figure out how the goals fit into their mission.

Even so, the conversation has advanced a lot in just a few years.