Partners in Energy action plan sets new countywide targets
for efficiency, renewable energy
Team of energy utilities,
Garfield Clean Energy starts action phase
May 4, 2017
A countywide planning effort to increase energy efficiency and clean energy in Garfield County has set new goals for a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, along with obtaining 35 to 50 percent of electricity used countywide from renewable energy sources, all by 2030.
The Energy Action Plan for Garfield County, published today, was developed by community stakeholders through Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy in collaboration with Garfield Clean Energy.
Holy Cross Energy, Black Hills Energy and Glenwood Springs Electric, which are the other energy utilities serving customers in Garfield County, also participated, as well as Garfield Clean Energy board members, citizens, clean energy businesses, Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), representatives from the Colorado River District, Colorado State University Extension, Alpine Bank, educational institutions, and the natural gas industry.
The plan builds on energy efficiency and clean energy targets first set in 2009 by Garfield Clean Energy, a governmental authority managed by CLEER that includes Garfield County, its six municipalities along with Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and Colorado Mountain College.
Garfield Clean Energy’s 2009 energy targets led to more than 700 households and businesses making energy upgrades in the years since, with savings on energy now running about $900,000 every year. The targets also spurred installation of more than 4 megawatts of solar energy across the county.
The new 20 percent energy efficiency target in the Energy Action Plan resets the clock from 2009, uses countywide energy consumption from 2015 as a new baseline, and places the new target date at 2030.
“This plan and the action steps we have agreed to take together are aimed at using energy efficiency and renewable energy to build and strengthen our economy,” said Bruce Leland, New Castle councilman and Garfield Clean Energy board member. “We believe there is something in this plan for everyone, and the benefits will be felt individually and countywide.”
“Partners in Energy brought together contractors, environmentalists, local utility companies, major employers and local elected officials to develop an energy plan that benefits our entire region, from low income families to major commercial interests,” said Katrina Byars, Carbondale Trustee and Garfield Clean Energy board member.
The plan targets new areas of focus, including outreach to the natural gas industry, marijuana growing facilities, farms and ranches, and church congregations, as well as building on existing programs that reach out to households, schools, businesses and governments.
“We see significant opportunities for new energy savings in these sectors and are pleased to be working with Garfield Clean Energy and partners throughout the county to achieve these goals,” said Kelly Flenniken, area manager, community and local government affairs, for Xcel Energy. “In addition, we are also seeing momentum to develop more renewable energy, particularly through solar installations and small-scale hydropower.”
Several initiatives are already under way, such as the Clean Innovative Energy Sources workshop held March 3 and the 2017 Energy Smart Contractor Expo held April 27. These and other opportunities identified in the Energy Action Plan will give people a chance over the next 18 months to get involved and help the county meet its goals.
The plan also calls for working with local government building departments to explore upgrading codes for greater energy efficiency in new construction, and working more broadly to improve statewide policies to encourage increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
In addition to developing the forward-leaning Energy Action Plan, the Partners in Energy process looked back to 2015 and tallied energy use in the residential and commercial sectors across all utilities in Garfield County for that year.
The Partners In Energy process found that utility customers across Garfield County consumed approximately 559 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, 21.3 million therms of natural gas, and spent $68.6 million on energy costs. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, this annual energy use is nearly 278,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent, or about 58,700 passenger vehicles driven for one year.
Through Partners in Energy, Xcel Energy provides free services for communities in its Colorado service areas to develop customized energy plans and then assists with implementing those plans. To learn more about Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy, visit www.xcelenergy.com/PartnersinEnergy.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow Xcel Energy on Twitter and Facebook.
Energy Action Plan for Garfield County
Energy Action Plan for Garfield County (64 pgs, 3.2 MB)
Executive Summary Energy Action Plan for Garfield County (3 pgs, 185 KB)
Stakeholder process documents
Community Planning Workshop I
Aug. 11, 2016
Partners in Energy Stakeholders
Chris Allen, Climate Control Co.
Susan Alvillar, Terra Energy Partners
Rich Backe, Building Performance Contractors
Tom Baker, Town of New Castle
Christian Barraza, About Saving Heat
Jean Brown, New Castle Climate Action Committee
Katrina Byars, Town of Carbondale
Misty Darby, Black Hills Energy
Sarah Gruen, CORE
Keith Lambert, Rifle Civic Leader
Matt Hamilton, Aspen Skiing Company & Roaring Fork School District
Allyn Harvey, Former GCE Board Member
Kayla Hinkley, CSU Extension
Patrick Hunter, Carbondale Environment Board
Bruce Leland, Town of New Castle
Nathan Lindquist, Town City of Rifle
Richard Maestas, Colorado Mountain College
David Miller, Alpine Bank
Scott Mills, About Saving Heat
Mona Newton, CORE
Ken Olson, Sol Energy
Jim Pokrandt, Colorado River District
Katharine Rushton, Sunsense
Peter Rusin, Energy Smart Colorado
Denise Scherberle, New Castle Climate Action Committee
Zac Sutherland, Garfield County
Matt Thesing, One Source Lighting
Mary Wiener, Holy Cross Energy
Josh Williams, Garfield County
Pete Yang, Alpine Bank