Letter: Many partners help Garfield Clean Energy
2015 was indeed a good year for Garfield Clean Energy, as Post Independent reporter Ryan Summerlin explained in his March 8 article. The partnership of nine local governments tallied about $3.2 million in economic activity from clean energy projects in 2015.
Garfield Clean Energy (GCE) didn’t accomplish that economic boost and the associated clean energy gains alone. It took the combined efforts of families, businesses, contractors, energy utilities, nonprofits, the Colorado Energy Office and GCE’s local government members to hit that mark.
For example, while GCE tallied energy efficiency upgrades for 322 homes and businesses, it took the action and investments of those families and businesses to move forward with projects. And 65 contractor businesses were busy installing insulation, LED lighting, and high-efficiency heating and cooling upgrades.
Similar action by local governments propelled the installation of 1 megawatt of new solar electric capacity in 2015, with solar energy powering Roaring Fork High School and water plants in Battlement Mesa and Silt.
Nonprofits stepped in with game-changing offers. In particular, Energy Outreach Colorado worked with GCE and CLEER to debut the Home Energy Program, providing deep efficiency upgrades for 54 income-qualified families. Added funding from the Town of Carbondale boosted results for families and seniors in that community.
Funding Partners, which manages GCE’s Residential Loan Fund, stepped in with $200,000 in new capital so the fund can issue new loans in 2016.
The Colorado Energy Office awarded $1 million to help developers install public compressed natural gas fueling stations in Glenwood Springs in 2015 and in Rifle in 2016.
Year in and year out, the four progressive utilities serving Garfield County – Glenwood Springs Electric, Holy Cross Energy, Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy (formerly SourceGas) – are essential to GCE’s success. They offer valuable incentives that raise the return on investment for energy upgrades.
And GCE’s nine local government partners – Garfield County, the six municipalities, RFTA and Colorado Mountain College – each contributed funding and leadership. Their shared vision allowed GCE to push forward on three fronts: energy efficiency, renewable energy and petroleum independence. These efforts diversify and strengthen Garfield County’s economy.
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