Our Energy Goals & Policies

  • Energy Action Plan for Garfield County (2017)
  • Active Energy Management Resolution (2013)
  • Energy Efficiency and Economic Development Goals Resolution (2010)

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Energy Action Plan for Garfield County

In 2017, Garfield Clean Energy and a group of community stakeholders participated in Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy program, developing a new Energy Action Plan for Garfield County.

The countywide planning effort to increase energy efficiency and clean energy set new goals for clean energy:

  • 20 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2030
  • 35 to 50 percent of electricity used countywide coming from renewable energy sources by 2030

The plan builds on energy efficiency and clean energy targets first set in 2009 by Garfield Clean Energy (see below).

The 2009 energy targets led to more than 700 households and businesses making energy upgrades in the following eight years. Countywide energy savings now reach $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.

Garfield County’s Energy Action Plan identifies 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.

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.

Town of Carbondale officials and Sunsense Solar employees celebrate the successful installation of an 87-kilowatt solar array to power the town's Roaring Fork Water Treatment Plant. The array was installed in 2013.


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.

Documents: Energy Action Plan for Garfield County

2019 Partners in Energy Summary report (2 pgs, 4.8 MB)

2017 Energy Action Plan for Garfield County (64 pgs, 3.2 MB)

Executive Summary of 2017 Energy Action Plan for Garfield County (3 pgs, 185 KB)

Energy Action Plan for Garfield County - Implementation Memorandum of Understanding for Phase 2 (6 pgs, 50 KB)

Energy Efficiency and Economic Development Goals Resolution

In 2010, Garfield Clean Energy adopted the Energy Efficiency and Economic Development Resolution as a means of driving economic development across Garfield County, Colorado.

In this resolution, Garfield Clean Energy joined the parallel goals of energy efficiency and economic development. The goals are based on energy use tallied in the Garfield Clean Energy 2009 Energy Inventory, and the target is to reach the goals by 2020. The goals are:

  • Increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.
  • Reduce petroleum consumption by 25 percent by 2020.
  • Generate 35 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Achieving these goals will yield significant cost savings for any governments, institutions, businesses and households that take action to save energy. Saving money on utility bills helps households meet their budgets, makes businesses more profitable, and helps governments and institutions devote more of their budget to fulfilling their primary mission.

The percentage reduction goals start from a 2009 energy use baseline, which was carefully measured in the Garfield Energy Inventory. The inventory revealed $219 million in total energy spending in Garfield County in 2009. Of that, $95 million was spent on electricity, natural gas and propane, and $124 million was spent on transportation fuels.

A 20 percent reduction in spending on electricity, natural gas and propane would mean $19 million in savings per year, while a 25 percent reduction in spending on transportation fuels would yield $24 million a year in savings across the county – a total of $43 million.

Wastewater treatment plants are often the largest energy using facility for a town government. Garfield Clean Energy's annual Facility Managers Roundtable brings together facility managers from many local governments to compare notes and learn about new ways of achieving energy savings in plant operations. This was a tour of the Glenwood Springs wastewater treatment plant in 2014.


Energy Efficiency and Economic Development Goals supporters

Garfield Clean Energy Advisory Board, July 14, 2010

Carbondale Environmental Board, July 2010

Carbondale Board of Trustees, Aug. 3, 2010

Glenwood Springs City Council, Sept. 2, 2010

Garfield County Public Library District Board, Sept. 9, 2010

Parachute Board of Trustees, Sept. 9, 2010

Rifle City Council, Sept. 15, 2010

New Castle Town Council, Oct. 5, 2010

Active Energy Management Resolution

In 2013, the Garfield Clean Energy Collaborative adopted the Active Energy Management resolution. The policy is aimed at empowering staff and elected officials within GCE member governments to make suggestions and take action to achieve higher energy efficiency.

Active Energy Management uses PEOPLE as the primary means of saving energy. We can tap big savings in energy use when each of us becomes an active energy manager.

The Active Energy Management Resolution calls for staff members at all levels of each member government to:

  • Pay attention to energy use.
  • Highlight examples and instances of wasted energy.
  • Work diligently to increase energy efficiency and reduce consumption of energy in buildings and vehicle fleets.
  • Search for potential applications for renewable energy.

The results of active energy management include:

  • Job growth
  • Savings on utility and fuel costs
  • Responsible use of taxpayer dollars
  • Improved workplace comfort

In 2013, operators of the New Castle wastewater treatment plant devised a creative solution to solve a problem of plugged air pipes at the facility. They used fire trucks to blast the pipes clean. With the material cleared from the lines and air bubbling smoothly again, operators got the plant running better and brought energy use back under control. Here, New Castle Utilities Supervisor Greg Colter holds a special attachment his staff added to the plant which allowed the fire hoses to clean the fine bubble diffuser pipes.


Active Energy Management supporters

Garfield Clean Energy Collaborative Board, May 8, 2013

New Castle Town Council, May 21, 2013

Glenwood Springs City Council, June 20, 2013

Rifle City Council, July 1, 2013

Carbondale Board of Trustees, Aug. 13, 2013

Parachute Board of Trustees, Sept. 12, 2013

Silt Board of Trustees, February 10, 2014