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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

April 22, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 4

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Map shows public solar power in Garfield County

Post Independent’s online map shows abundant solar
from Parachute to Carbondale

Post Independent Public Solar Power online map

Today’s Glenwood Springs Post Independent features an interactive, online map exploring the impressive concentration of solar energy systems owned by local governments throughout Garfield County.

The “Public Solar Power” online map highlights arrays in each town, illustrating the boom in solar energy over the past decade. The accompanying article by PI Editor Randy Essex credits Rifle for having the most solar energy per capita.

“We want to set the stage for the future,” said Keith Lambert, a former Rifle mayor, explaining why Rifle has invested deeply in a source of energy that offers stable pricing for decades to come.

Related in the news

Aspen Times, April 22, 2015
Valley’s largest solar array goes online in Missouri Heights | Carbondale firm eyes expanded role in solar industry | August finish line for 100 renewable energy in Aspen

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Garfield Clean Energy celebrates
‘David Sturges Earth Day’ today

Founding board member recognized for service, leadership

Fritz Diether, David Sturges and Scott Mills

David Sturges, center, presents a Clean Energy Innovation Award to insulation contractors Fritz Diether, left, and Scott Mills, right, of Frostbusters and Coolth. Photo by Cam Burns

The Garfield Clean Energy Board of Directors invites everyone to celebrate ‘David Sturges Earth Day’ today, in honor of his six years of dedicated service and leadership to Garfield Clean Energy.

Since the founding of Garfield Clean Energy in 2009, at the time called Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative, Sturges has represented the City of Glenwood Springs as a board member. He helped guide the countywide partnership of local governments to create a program that works for energy efficiency, renewable energy and petroleum independence.

Dave brought vision, conscience and a deep commitment to clean energy in his service on the board. He served as the board’s institutional historian, providing valuable context about the purpose and accomplishments of Garfield Clean Energy.

Dave and his wife, Linda, personally embraced the concept of home energy efficiency – a key tenet in the Garfield Clean Energy mission – by working with local contractors to have attic insulation, exterior stucco and energy-efficient windows installed at their home.

With his departure from City Council, Dave will also be leaving the Garfield Clean Energy board. Earlier this month, the Garfield Clean Energy Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution recognizing his six years of dedicated service and leadership, and declaring Earth Day, April 22, 2015, to be “David Sturges Earth Day.”

David has marked Earth Day since its first celebration in 1970. This Earth Day, Garfield Clean Energy celebrates David Sturges and his dedication to a clean energy present and future.

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Energy Smart Contractor Expo ‘most successful so far’

Workshops, product booths focused on energy efficiency

Holy Cross Energy booth

Chris Hildred, left, Power Supply and Special Projects Supervisor for Holy Cross Energy, visits with a contractor who stopped by the Holy Cross Energy booth.

Charles Cady and Rich Backe

Home energy auditors and insulation contractors Charles Cady, left,of Cady and Associates and Rich Backe of Energy Efficiency Solutions attended the Expo.

One Source Lighting booth

Lighting supplier and installer Matt Thesing, owner of OneSource Lighting of Grand Junction, hosted a booth featuring LED lights.

City of Aspen Utilities booth

Ryland French, energy efficiency manager for City of Aspen Utilities, hosted a booth to educate contractors on the city's rebates and incentives for energy efficiency upgrades.

LED light samples

Samples of new models of LED lights shown at an Expo booth.

Photos by John-Ryan Lockman, energy programs manager, Walking Mountains Science Center

Lights, fans, insulation! The 2015 Energy Smart Contractor Expo drew more than 200 contractors and suppliers to Glenwood Springs on April 2 for displays of energy efficiency products, workshops and networking.

“Everything is connected to energy,” said Tim Riggins of Alpine Valley Services during his presentation, summing up the theme of the jam-packed event.

Companies that sell high-efficiency lighting, refrigeration, ventilation, ice-melting, duct cleaning, solar energy and insulation products and services packed 27 booths into the Devereux Room at the Hotel Colorado, while a series of nine workshops were presented through the morning in two nearby rooms.

Energy utilities also hosted booths to share information with contractors about rebates for high-efficiency measures, giving contractors a good understanding of how to up-sell customers for upgrades that deliver maximum efficiency.

“Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER have been hosting contractor workshops since 2010, and we have partnering with CORE and Energy Smart Colorado since 2011. Last year we introduced the trade show concept along with workshops,” said Maisa Metcalf, a CLEER energy coach and Expo organizer.

“This year’s Expo was our most successful so far. We are already thinking about ways to make it even better for next year,” she said.

The Expo was organized and hosted by CLEER, Garfield Clean Energy, CORE and Energy Smart Colorado.

Gold-level sponsors were Holy Cross Energy and Xcel Energy. Silver level sponsors were SourceGas, Sunsense Solar, One Source Lighting, City of Aspen Utilities, All-Phase Electric Supply Co., Quality Solar, Glenwood Springs Electric and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Energy Smart Contractor Expo vendor booth hosts

About Saving Heat
AE Building Systems
All-Phase Electric Supply Co.
Alpine Ice Solutions
Atlasta Solar Center
AROS Solutions
Brite Ideas Bulb Recycling
City of Aspen Utilities
Conserve-A-Watt Lighting
Eco Source Lighting
Energy Smart Colorado
Franklin Energy
Garfield Clean Energy
Green-Tech Refrigeration
Holy Cross Energy
Mesa Point Energy
Mountain to Mesa Homebuilders Association
One Source Lighting
Quality Solar
Shamrock Sales
Stanton Engineering Solutions Inc.
Sunsense Solar
Xcel Energy
Zehnder America



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Regional Roundtable envisions
widespread clean energy programs

High returns from efficiency drives
‘marriage of business and environment’

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

A Regional Roundtable of 31 community leaders from Aspen to Vail to Grand Junction convened April 2 to discuss regional energy efficiency, economic development and ways to build better and more widespread clean energy services.

Moderated by former Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen, the Roundtable drew county commissioners from Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties, town board members from Carbondale and New Castle, staff from Vail, Eagle County, RFTA, Holy Cross Energy, Colorado Mountain College, Housing Resources for Western Colorado, Northwest COG, CORE and CLEER, and private sector clean energy contractors and suppliers.

They met at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs immediately after the Energy Smart Contractor Expo, which attracted 150 contractors and vendors.

“It’s great to see this marriage of business and the environment. Efficiency makes money, saves money and saves the planet,” said Marianne Virgili, CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, after touring the hotel’s ballroom packed with vendor booths.

Contractors and suppliers emphasized the value of community and utility clean energy programs, such as Garfield Clean Energy and Energy Smart Colorado, which motivate households and businesses to improve energy efficiency.

“We are seeing an immense amount of work coming through our doors, and a lot of people ask about these programs,” said Aaron Elam, sales manager with All-Phase Electric Supply Co. of Glenwood Springs.

Roundtable participants summarized the programs and partnerships that are working well today, and suggested ways to achieve greater results through regional or statewide collaboration.

“We heard a lot of enthusiasm from people, and creativity in thinking of ways to build on our region’s success,” said Alice Laird, executive director of CLEER. Laird organized the Regional Roundtable in collaboration with Mona Newton, executive director of CORE.

Newton suggested forming a regional energy sustainability utility to provide broad access to uniform rebates and services.

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky called for a state-level effort, noting that local funding for clean energy programs is limited and many regions of the state have no services at all.

“This has to be a bigger group effort,” Jankovsky said. “Otherwise we will still be where we are today, without much growth in this industry.”

Former state senator Gail Schwartz, now a resident of Crested Butte, said the Colorado Energy Office is preparing to roll out the CoPACE financing program for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to commercial properties, including multi-family housing.

The program is the result of legislation she sponsored in 2013, and will allow property owners to finance upgrades over 20 years.

“I think it’s a game changer,” Schwartz said, noting that private sector lenders are very interested in capitalizing the loan program. “We will have the most progressive commercial PACE program in the country.”

Virgili said this type of public-private partnership will build the clean energy economy.

“If the return on investment is high, business will be interested,” Virgili said.

Download the 3-page Regional Roundtable summary, including a list of those who attended.

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Senate kills two schools clean energy bills

State tax credit proposed for small hydro, wind and biomass

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

Colorado Senate committees rejected two bills in April that would have provided loans for school energy audits and grants for schools installing wind energy systems. Meanwhile, the state House of Representatives is considering a new 30 percent tax credits for certain renewable energy systems installed by electric customers.

The Colorado Legislature is in its final two weeks of action, and legislators are still working on 16 of the 28 clean energy bills introduced this session. The session ends Wednesday, May 6.

Senate committees kill school energy bills

State Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, attempted two bills this session to make it easier for schools to finance energy assessments and install renewable energy, but both bills were killed in Senate committees.

Donovan’s Senate Bill 63 would have revived the dormant Wind for Schools grant program with new state funding of up to $200,000 per year, awarding grants of about $5,000 to 12 wind, solar or hydro power installations at public schools each year. The Senate Appropriations Committee killed the bill April 10 in a 4-3 vote.

Donovan and Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, introduced SB 252 on March 24. It would have allowed school districts to borrow from the Energy Efficiency for Schools Loan Program to conduct an energy assessment of school buildings in order to plan energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The bill imposed no costs to state government, but was killed in the Senate Finance Committee on April 16 in a 3-2 vote.

New renewable energy bills face House, Senate action

A bill proposed by Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, HB 1332, would create a three-year, state-level income tax credit for electric utility customers who install small hydro, wind or biomass renewable energy systems. Solar PV systems are not included in the proposed legislation. The tax credit would cover 30 percent of the project costs up to $50,000. The bill awaits action in the House Finance Committee.

Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, and Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, introduced SB 254 on March 27. The bill would give the state’s municipal electric utilities, such as those operated by Aspen and Glenwood Springs, another 18 months to apply a 3-to-1 multiplier for solar electric systems installed within their service areas for meeting the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. The bill has passed Senate committees and awaits a Senate floor vote. If it fails, the 3-to-1 multiplier expires July 1, 2015.

Second try at state’s carbon emissions plan

Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, introduced a bill in January that would have required approval of Colorado’s carbon emissions plan by a super-majority vote of the Legislature and by the Public Utilities Commission. It would also limit any resulting rate increases needed to carry out the plan to 2 percent, and subject the plan to annual review by affected utilities.

The state’s plan is being developed by the Department of Public Health and Environment to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements for a state plan to reduce carbon emissions. The legislators’ initial bill, SB 92, was killed in a Senate committee on March 4.

On April 2, Cooke and Sonnenberg introduced a milder version of the bill, SB 258, calling it the Colorado Electric Consumers' Protection Act. The new bill dials back legislative approval to a simple majority vote, and dropped the limit on rate increases and the annual review by utilities. Taking a different path through the Senate, SB 258 has won approval by two other Senate committees and awaits floor action.

Garfield Clean Energy’s legislative tracker page

CLEER and Garfield Clean Energy are tracking 28 bills related to clean energy on the website. To see the full list of bills, click here.

Related in the news

Denver Business Journal, April 9, 2015
Colorado's plan to cut CO2 would see multiple reviews under state Senate bill
A committee of the Colorado state Senate voted 7-2 in favor of a measure that would create more hurdles for Colorado’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan."

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Fast charging for electric vehicles
can be a new revenue stream

Gas stations, convenience stores, retailers urged to install chargers

Britt Coyne and Tyler Svitak
Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition

Direct current (DC) fast charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are quickly becoming an attractive addition for gasoline stations and other retailers as a new revenue stream and branding statement.

A DC fast charger, also called a Level 3 charger, can charge a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) in about 30 minutes, compared to the slower Level 1 or Level 2 charging station that can take four to eight hours. While the EV owner waits for their car to charge, they have a few minutes to shop or purchase food or a beverage.

Many gasoline stations already have the electrical equipment needed for a DC fast charger. They just need to identify one or two parking spaces and install the EV charging post, which can be switched on with a swipe from the customer’s credit card. Gas stations are also consistently distributed along major travel corridors, which creates a convenient opportunity to take advantage of the new but growing PEV market.

The United States is the largest electric car market in the world, according to Forbes, and Colorado is ranked 8th as a state in overall PEV sales.

Refuel Colorado’s Electric Vehicle Market Implementation Study projects there will be 40,000 PEVs on Colorado roads by 2030, on the low end, and as many as 900,000 on the high end, depending on a number of factors. In 2013 alone, PEV sales experienced a 90% increase from the previous year, and the number of PEV models are constantly growing to meet consumer demand.

To provide fast, convenient charging access, Refuel Colorado’s EV Market Study recommends creating an electric highway, something that the West Coast has already adopted. An electric highway is a network of fast-charging stations along heavily traveled corridors, so PEV drivers are alleviated of range anxiety when traveling throughout the state.

Gas stations are already established along corridors and familiar for traveling or commuting drivers, and can play a pivotal role in this electric highway. The Refuel Colorado Fleets program is working to connect charging station providers with interested host sites in order to create this electric highway.

A survey conducted as a part of the EV Market Study asked consumers whether an electric highway would increase the likelihood they would consider a PEV for their next vehicle. Of the 285 survey respondents, 83% answered yes. The I-25 and I-70 corridors are prime candidates for this network of fast charging stations, and the development is already under way.

Thanks to the Charge Ahead Colorado grant, gas stations can receive funding for 80% of project costs up to $16,000, to install a fast charging station. This incentive is one of the best in the nation, and promotes Level 3 fast charger installations in an effort to meet climbing demand.

Total project costs associated with fast charger installation vary, but can be up to $50,000. Private businesses are also offering to install and maintain the station at no cost to the host. The fast charging company will charge the PEV owner for charging, but the host will see increased business while the vehicle owner waits for their car to finish charging.

Colorado is the home to active, mountain lifestyles, and PEV drivers don’t want to sacrifice their access to the Colorado outdoors. Gas stations can take advantage of this new market by providing a convenient method for PEV drivers to charge up.

As automakers expand their PEV models, gas stations and convenience stores have an opportunity to gain new market share. With the major incentives available in Colorado for vehicles and for charging, now is the time to invest in fast charging stations.

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Alpine Bank and Holy Cross Energy

Many thanks to Alpine Bank
and Holy Cross Energy for their generous gifts to CLEER. Their support helps make CLEER's work
on increasing energy efficiency possible.

In this issue

Mapping public solar in Garfield County

Garfield Clean Energy celebrates
‘David Sturges Earth Day’ today

Energy Smart Contractor Expo ‘most successful so far’

Regional Roundtable envisions widespread clean energy programs

Energy Coach Hot Tip:
Keep cool with EC motors

Senate kills two schools clean energy bills

Xcel Energy offers 20% bonus rebate
for lighting upgrades

Fast charging for electric vehicles can be a new revenue stream


Eagle Alternative Fuels Seminar & Expo


Study predicts warmer Aspen, declining snowpack

Solar Rollers Student Team Sends Email Back from the Future

Submit your news and events to
Clean Energy Economy News

Clean Energy Economy News accepts news, events and training information related to clean energy and sustainability for monthly publication. Send your items to Editor Heather McGregor at


Energy Coach Matt Shmigelsky’s
Hot Tip for April

Keep your cool with
EC motors

As the season transitions from heating to cooling, the electrical grid groans with the whine of cooling fans spooling up, from fans in rooftop units to evaporative coolers and air conditioning condensers.

Large buildings with cooling equipment can take a bite out of their energy costs by retrofitting with EC motors. These motors are well-proven for years in refrigeration units. Now, cooling equipment manufacturers are incorporating EC motors in building cooling systems.

For example, FridgeWize of Glenwood Springs announced on April 21 a suite of new EC-based cooling system motors sized for hotels, hospitals and office buildings. The new FridgeWize EC line includes fan coil motors, air handler motors, pool motors and rooftop units.

Their motors, coupled with the company’s lightweight carbon fiber fan blades, can deliver efficiency improvements of 70 to 75% compared to standard motors powering aluminum blades, according to FridgeWize President Ryan Grobler.

So what is an EC motor? It’s a direct-current motor built without the brushes that have been used in electric motors for more than a century. Instead, the direction of the electric current is switched using electronic controllers. This process is called “electronic commutation,” or EC. These motors offer variable speed control, but no internal brushes creating drag or wearing out over time.

Info about the new FridgeWize EC motor line.

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Eagle Alternative Fuels Seminar & Expo

April 30 event to highlight CNG, propane, electric vehicles

Fleet owners and managers, fueling station owners and business people are invited to attend the Eagle Alternative Fuels Seminar & Expo to learn about the economic and environmental benefits of compressed natural gas (CNG), propane and electric-powered vehicles.

The seminar is set for 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at the Eagle County Building, 500 Broadway in Eagle. An expo featuring a variety of electric, propane and CNG vehicles will be held outside from 12 to 2 p.m., with refreshments.

Eagle County, the county’s Actively Green Program and Refuel Colorado Fleets are hosting the free seminar and expo.

Advance registration is encouraged. Click here to register.

Tyler Svitak, a fleet energy coach and alternative fuels expert with Refuel Colorado Fleets and Denver Metro Clean Cities, will present an overview on the newest alternative fuel vehicles, from passenger cars to pickups to heavy-duty trucks, and explain the process to develop fueling and charging stations.

He will explain the tax credits and grants now available for businesses and governments for purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, and why 2015 and 2016 will be particularly good years to invest in alternative fuel vehicles.

The expo will feature Eagle County’s Ford C-Max plug-in electric car and the county’s new electric vehicle charging station, along with a propane pickup, CNG bi-fuel Chevy Impala, a CNG bi-fuel Ford F250, and a dedicated CNG Freightliner 114 SD tandem bobtail heavy duty truck.

For fleet owners and managers who want to learn more about alternative fuels, the statewide Refuel Colorado Fleets program offers free coaching services for government and private sector fleets. At the seminar, Svitak will offer examples of his successful fleet coaching in the Denver metro area.

Free coaching for fleets in Eagle County is provided by CLEER, a Carbondale organization that manages the Refuel Colorado Fleets program statewide.

Advance registration is encouraged. Click here to register.

For more information about free fleet coaching, contact Matt Shmigelsky at CLEER, (970) 704-9200 or

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Xcel Energy offers 20% bonus for lighting upgrades

Commercial customers can get bonus for work done May 15 to Sept. 15

Commercial customers of Xcel Energy can get a 20 percent bonus rebate for lighting upgrades carried out between May 15 and Sept. 15.

“If you have been considering a lighting upgrade, take a second look at how this bonus could deliver an even faster payback,” said CLEER Energy Coach Shelley Kaup.

“Lighting upgrades to the new, highly efficient and long-lasting LED fixtures pay for themselves quickly. Add in Xcel’s standard rebate and this 20 percent bonus, and the return-on-investment is outstanding,” Kaup said.

Xcel is also boosting its cap on rebates as a share of total project cost, Kaup said. The normal cap is up to 60% of project cost, but with this four-month offer, the rebate can cover up to 75% of total project costs.

A few specific rules apply to the 20 percent bonus rebate offer:

  • Lighting upgrades must be installed and invoiced between the dates of May 15 and Sept. 15, 2015.
  • Complete rebate applications must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2015.
  • The bonus applies to prescriptive and custom lighting efficiency projects in retrofits and new construction, and can include lighting redesign projects.
  • Xcel’s Business LED Instant Rebate is not included in the bonus offering.

While the bonus starts May 15, Kaup encourages Xcel commercial customers to start planning now. She noted that Garfield Clean Energy offers a free building walk-through for all commercial utility customers throughout Garfield County.

“A building walk-through gives property owners a good plan for identifying potential lighting upgrades and other improvements for energy efficiency,” Kaup said. “Your energy coach will also help you work with lighting contractors and make the most of available rebates.”

For information, contact an energy coach at CLEER at 704-9200.

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Aspen Daily News, April 20, 2015

Study predicts warmer Aspen, declining snowpack

The findings of an updated study of Aspen’s climate conducted by the Aspen Global Change Institute shows that the region could be much warmer by later this century, affecting snowpack levels and possibly shortening the skiing season.

An April 14 presentation on the report to the Pitkin County commissioners warned of diminishing water levels in area rivers, and an elevated risk of wildfires and landslides if current trends continue.

“For Aspen, climate change will likely include longer summertime warm periods, earlier onset of spring snow melt, more precipitation arriving as rain rather than snow, and longer dry periods with heavier precipitation events in between,” the report states.

“These types of changes could exacerbate already risky wildfire conditions, place extra pressure on already stretched water providers and users, provide additional challenges to ski area operators and other winter and summer recreation providers, as well as result in other impacts to every sector important to the Aspen community.”

Ashley Perl, director of the city’s Canary Initiative, said keys to ensuring Aspen’s vitality in the future are reliant on reducing greenhouse gases, and adapting to changes brought on by our shifting climate.

The report, released in December 2014, is online at

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Renewable Energy
April 1, 2015

Solar Rollers Student Team Sends Email Back from the Future

A team of future high school graduates has developed technology capable of sending emails and digital attachments back from the future. The group call themselves the “Photon Farmers,” and they are the future winners of the 2017 Solar Rollers energy education competition.

“It seems that one of our future student teams has sent us an email from the future using the app developed by the team in 2018. I swear, young people can accomplish anything if they put their minds to it,” said Noah Davis, executive director of Energetics Education, the nonprofit behind the Solar Rollers craze.

We are resisting the temptation to send back real-life spoilers, but we just had to send this picture of the 2018 Solar Rollers World Finals race.

Solar Rollers in 2018

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