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Clean Energy Economy for the Region

November 18, 2016, Vol. 9, No. 8

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Garfield County opts into statewide C-PACE

Financing covers energy and water efficiency, renewables

C-PACEOn Nov. 14, the Garfield County Commissioners voted 3-0 to opt in to Colorado’s Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing program, C-PACE. Garfield joins eight other counties to make PACE financing available for commercial property owners.

The commissioners acted in response to a request from Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER, and energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses to opt in to the statewide program, which was launched in December 2015.

C-PACE will benefit commercial property owners by offering affordable financing for energy and water efficiency upgrades and for renewable energy systems. Bringing C-PACE to the county will also boost economic activity by driving new business to contractors and suppliers.

Active C-PACE counties

Adams
Arapahoe
Boulder
Broomfield
Denver
Eagle
Garfield

Jefferson
Pitkin

Counties considering
C-PACE

Clear Creek
Delta
Douglas
El Paso
Mesa
Ouray
Pueblo
Routt
Summit

CLEER is working with C-PACE officials to organize a local workshop to train contractors on use of the financing tool. The workshop will likely be held in early 2017.

C-PACE also opens up a new lending opportunity for banks by using an open source funding model that allows any qualified capital provider to fund eligible projects.

Commercial and industrial properties may borrow from C-PACE, as may farms, ranches and multi-family residential properties with five or more units. Facilities owned by nonprofits, such as hospitals, clinics and resource centers, are also eligible.

Borrowers carry out projects, which must meet specific requirements to be eligible for financing. The debt is repaid as part of that property’s annual property tax bill over a term of up to 20 years.

Efficiency and renewable energy projects are designed so that utility cost savings will equal or exceed the annual debt payment. An independent third party must confirm the expected energy or water savings and the related cost savings, providing added assurance to property owners.

Garfield County will collect a servicing fee of 1 percent of the annual payment amount to cover its costs for processing the payment, and the C-PACE program collects a one time, 2.5 percent fee to cover its own operating costs.

In-depth information on C-PACE is available on the program’s website, copace.com .

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FWHA includes I-70 in western Colorado
in national “Alternative Fuels Corridor”

Volkwagen emissions settlement to fund alt fuel trucks,
buses, locomotives, EV charging

Colorado's “sign-ready” Alternative Fuel Corridors

Electric Vehicle charging
I-25, Pueblo to Fort Collins
I-76 Denver to Brighton
I-70 Denver to Golden
I-70 Frisco to Grand Junction

CNG fueling
I-70 Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs
I-70 Denver to Aurora
I-25 New Mexico border to Wyoming border

Colorado’s “signage pending” Alternative Fuel Corridors

Electric Vehicle charging
I-76, Denver to Nebraska border
I-70 Utah border to Grand Junction
I-70 Frisco to Golden
I-70 Denver to Kansas border
I-25 Pueblo to New Mexico border
I-25 Fort Collins to Wyoming border

CNG fueling
I-70, Glenwood Springs to Denver
I-70 Aurora to Kansas border
I-76 Denver to Nebraska border

On Nov. 3, the Federal Highway Administration unveiled a national network of highways in 35 states that offer public alternative fuel stations, including I-70 in western Colorado.

Alt Fuels Corridor signThe “Alternative Fuels Corridor” designations recognize the investments by governments and businesses in fueling stations for compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, liquid natural gas (LNG) and charging stations for electric vehicles. The designation for I-70 also underscores the local alternative fuel advocacy efforts of CLEER, Garfield Clean Energy and Garfield County.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Energy Office actively participated in a nomination process earlier this year, providing the federal agency with up-to-date information about highway corridors where fueling infrastructure is already in place or is in the planning stages.

As a result, the Federal Highway Administration designated seven segments in Colorado as “sign-ready,” and nine more segments as “signage pending,” indicating that fueling stations are being planned for the near future. New signs. above at right, will be installed along these corridors to alert drivers about the availability of alternative fuels for fueling.

Volkwagen settlement brings cash to Colorado

The Denver-based Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) reports that settlements to actions brought against Volkswagen AG over its emissions scandal in VW and Audi vehicles will bring millions of dollars to Colorado to support alternative fuel vehicles and fueling.

Volkswagen AG’s settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice, the State of California and the Federal Trade Commission require the automaker to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle claims from vehicle owners and to fund mitigation projects to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The final settlement was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Oct. 25, according to the RAQC.

The settlement includes a $2.7 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund for emission reduction projects across the country. Colorado’s initial allocation is $61.3 million, which can be allocated over the next 10 years.

Eligible projects include incentives for alternative fuel vehicles and engine repowers for heavy and medium-duty trucks, transit buses, shuttle buses, school buses, freight switcher locomotives, and airport ground equipment.

The funding can also be used for incentives for light-duty, zero-emission vehicle supply equipment.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment is the state’s lead agency for implementing the settlement allocation, in cooperation with the Governor’s office, the Colorado Energy Office and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

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River District Ride Garfield team

The Colorado River District team won the 2016 Ride Garfield County team challenge, and team member Eric Kuhn, second from right, won the individual rider award at an awards event held Oct. 19, 2016. From left are Chris Treese of the River District team, Karen Wahrmund of CLEER, John Currier and Kuhn of the River District team, and awards ceremony emcee Steve Novy.

Countywide 'Ride Garfield' biking campaign
places 9th in National Bike Challenge

Kuhn, River District claim top mileage in 2016 Ride Garfield County

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News


The five-month 2016 Ride Garfield County bicycle and bus riding competition wrapped up Oct. 19 with an awards event honoring top-mileage riders and their teams.

The celebratory event included updates from three speakers about new hard surface paths and single-track trail projects in the Glenwood Springs and New Castle areas.

Ride Garfield County’s 2016 competition ran from May 1 to Sept. 30, using the National Bike Challenge website to tally bicycling mileage. The bike and bus campaign is a project of Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER.

The Colorado River District team established a lead in the Ride Garfield rankings by mid-summer, and won the biking team challenge with 16 riders logging 13,722 miles.

Team member Eric Kuhn, the River District’s general manager, was the individual winner with 3,974 miles. Kuhn topped his colleague John Currier, who placed second with 3,562 miles.

Kuhn said a weeklong September bicycling trip in Canada gave him the extra miles he needed to pass Currier.

The third place individual rider was Patti Holt with 2,921 miles.

Team Kiwanis

Team Kiwanis Family and Friends took second place in the 2016 Ride Garfield County team challenge. From left are John Stephens, Joe O'Donnell, Sheryl Doll, Ted Doll, Pam Lewis and Wade Lewis.

Taking second in the team challenge was Team Kiwanis Family and Friends, above,with 16 riders tallying 12,291 miles. In third place was Holy Cross Energy, with 16 riders logging 8,957 miles.

The River District, Team Kiwanis and Kuhn each won custom trophies made from used bicycle parts by mechanics at Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop.

As an organized biking campaign, Ride Garfield County placed 9th in the national rankings for the National Bike Challenge, with a total of 205 local riders logging 63,091 miles.

“Ride Garfield was right behind Fort Collins in the national rankings,” said event organizer Karen Wahrmund of CLEER. She noted that the riders burned an estimated 3 million calories and avoided 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by riding instead of driving.

Other organizations sponsoring Ride Garfield County are the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), City of Glenwood Springs, LiveWell Garfield County, Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop and the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association.

Annette Parker and Julie Albrecht

Ride Garfield County included a separate competition for bus riding. Annette Parker, left, represented the winning bus riding team from the White River National Forest, and Julie Albrecht, right, was the winning individual bus rider.

In the bus riding competition, a team of five staffers with the White River National Forest won the team competition, logging 3,257 miles during the same five-month period. In the individual rider category, Julie Albrecht took first place with 1,792 miles, followed by Sheryl Doll with 981 miles and her husband, Ted Doll, with 760 miles.

Each of the winning riders received a $20 bus pass donated by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA).

Prizes donated by Aloha Mountain Cyclery, BackCountry Chiropractic, Treadz, Defiant Pack, The Grind, White House Pizza, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and the Glenwood Springs Community Center were raffled off at the end of the awards ceremony, held at the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. in Glenwood Springs.

New recreational and connector trails
planned for New Castle, Glenwood Springs


Three speakers updated the gathering of about 30 avid cyclists with information about new hard surface and single-track trail projects in the Glenwood Springs and New Castle areas.

Tanya Allen, transportation manager for the City of Glenwood Springs, said the 14th Street pedestrian bridge is under construction, providing a new crossing over the Roaring Fork River midway between the 8th and 27th Street bridges.

The West Midland path and pedestrian bridge project, which will provide a safe route for walkers and cyclists from the Meadows shopping area to the Whitewater Park, is also under construction.

The two projects are both slated for completion by early summer 2017.

Allen called on cyclists to share ideas for encouraging more people to travel on foot or by bike or bus instead of by car, in anticipation of the three-month closure of the Grand Avenue Bridge in 2017.

“Everyone is thinking about this, and we want your ideas. This is a great opportunity for you to get the ear of people,” Allen told the cyclists.

As traffic congestions worsens with the bridge project, Allen said, “A lot of people will see biking as a better way to get around town.”

Rider Chris Treese suggested that the city install more bike racks so cyclists have a safe and legal place to lock up their bikes.

Mike Pritchard, executive director of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA), showed maps of trails that are in the works for public lands north of New Castle, in South Canyon west of Glenwood Springs, and on Red Mountain.

RFMBA is working with the New Castle Trails Committee to expand the Colorow Trail system with additional trail loops extending further north of New Castle.

In Glenwood Springs, the group is teaming up with Two Rivers Trails and the City of Glenwood Springs to expand the trail system in South Canyon, and developing a plan for a new erosion-resistant trail on Red Mountain.

New Castle Councilman Greg Russi reported that New Castle, Glenwood Springs, Garfield County and the Lower Valley Trail Association (LoVa) are increasing their joint efforts to fund more segments of a separated bikeway covering the 9.5 miles between West Glenwood and New Castle.

A recent grant application to the Colorado Department of Transportation for this purpose did not win funding, Russi said, but other grants are being sought. Grant funding is in hand, he said, for planning the best route for the four-mile stretch between Canyon Creek and New Castle.

“Our ultimate goal is a hard-surface trail from Glenwood Springs to New Castle. Once we get that done, we’ll be on our way to the Utah border,” Russi said.

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Carbondale offers half-price smart thermostats

Package deal for residents includes installation, furnace tune-up

Heating accounts for about half of a typical home’s total energy consumption. The Town of Carbondale wants to turn that statistic around by offering residents an energy-saving smart thermostat that increases savings, comfort and convenience.

Carbondale smart thermostat offer

The town government is offering residents 50 percent off for a smart thermostat through the end of 2016. Funds are limited, so act now to take advantage of this offer.

“Smart thermostats are like iPhones for your home. They use sensors to learn your preferences and schedule, and automatically adjust the temperature to the most comfortable and efficient setting,” said Jay Harrington, Carbondale town manager. “The beauty is that the thermostat does the work for you.”

Through a partnership with Ajax Mechanical Services and Climate Control Co., residents can opt for a $195 package that includes professional installation of the smart thermostat and a heating system tune-up.

A do-it-yourself option offers a $125 rebate on any of three smart thermostat models, the Nest Learning Thermostat, Ecobee, or Honeywell Lyric, each valued at $250.

The Carbondale smart thermostat project is a joint effort of Energy Smart Colorado, C?LEER, C?ORE?, Garfield Clean Energy, Ajax Mechanical Services and Climate Control Co.

To learn more, and find out if your heating system is compatible, call 925-9775, ext. 503.

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Carbondale Circulator unveiling event

Carbondale Middle School hosted an unveiling ceremony on Nov. 12 for the new CNG-powered Carbondale Circulator van. Photo by Alice H. Laird

RFTA dedicates new CNG van for Carbondale Circulator route

28-passenger van decorated with “Pet Portraits”
by Carbondale Middle School students

With a special event on Nov. 12, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) unveiled its newest vehicle, a 28-passenger van powered by compressed natural gas that will serve the Carbondale Circulator route.

The bright blue van is decorated with “Pet Portraits” created in mixed media by students at Carbondale Middle School. Through the art project, 130 students created clever animal images. Of these, 20 were selected for the wrap design for the new bus.

At 33 feet in length, the new Circulator bus replaces the full-size RFTA buses that were used for the free, in-town route. As with many of RFTA’s valley buses, the new van is fueled by CNG, which emits less air pollution and runs quietly.

RFTA used a Federal Transit Administration grant to pay for the cost of a standard van, plus a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Alternative Fuels Program to pay for the upgrade to a CNG engine.

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Walking activity chart

This chart from the “Economic and Health Benefits of Bicycling and Walking” report shows the percentage of Colorado residents that participated in various walking activities in the previous year. Source: BBC Research & Consulting

Bicycling, walking, hiking deliver $3B in savings,
$1.6B in activity to Colorado economy

BBC Research study supports new investments in trail infrastructure

Bicycling and walking activity saves Colorado more than $3 billion in health costs, and contributes $1.6 billion to the state’s economy through household spending, manufacturing, exports and tourism, according to a study released Nov. 8 by BBC Research & Consulting of Denver.

"This shows that funding biking and walking infrastructure is a good investment for our state - not only for the health of Coloradans, but also for the health of our economy," said Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“Economic and Health Benefits of Bicycling and Walking” was commissioned by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Pedals Project.

According to the study, bicycling has an estimated $1.1 billion impact on the Colorado economy, while walking and hiking generate an estimated $497 million.

"Bicycling has a significant impact on the state's economy through household spending, exports and out-of-town tourism," said executive director of Bicycle Colorado, Dan Grunig. "And it's only expected to increase."

On average, Coloradans spent $217 per household on bicycle-related items and events and $248 per household on walking and hiking equipment last year, according to the study.

In addition to the $931 million in revenue from household spending, the Colorado bicycle industry generated an estimated $185 million in exports and $448 million in tourism, for a total economic impact of $1.6 billion.

Bicycling and walking generate significant health benefits as well. These activities reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases and contribute to longer, healthier lives for active Coloradans.

Colorado's current levels of bicycling and walking help to prevent 335 deaths per year resulting in approximately $3.2 billion in annual health benefits across Colorado, according to the study.

The study found 43 percent of Colorado residents 18 or older rode a bike at least once in the past year and 33 percent walked 101 days or more, making Colorado one of the most active states in the nation. Increasing the number of Coloradans who walk or bike by 10 to 30 percent could add $500 million to $968 million in health benefits.

"Making sure Coloradans have safe, easy access to walking and biking will improve their health, save health care costs and help us make Colorado one of the healthiest states in the nation," said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of the state health department.

The study used data from a statewide survey of 2,255 Colorado residents who provided information about their bicycling and walking behaviors, household spending and activity, and opinions about bicycling and walking infrastructure.

Download the full study here

Learn more about Colorado's outdoor recreation industry at ChooseColorado.com

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DOE Revolution Now annual report

DOE report shows cost reductions, rapid deployment of clean energy technologies

The U.S. Department Energy annual update on deployment of clean energy technology shows that wind and solar energy now account for two-thirds of all new installed electricity capacity in the U.S.

The report, “Revolution Now,” released Sept. 28, updates the status of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, utility-scale solar (PV), distributed solar PV, electric vehicles, and light-emitting diode lightbulbs (LEDs).

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said DOE’s continued investment in the research and advancement of clean energy technologies have contributed to price reductions since 2008 of 40 to 94 percent.

Highlights from the report detail the dramatic increases in America’s clean energy deployment:

  • Land-based wind accounted for 41% of all new capacity brought online in 2015. Overall, wind generated enough electricity to power more than 17 million households.
  • Utility-scale solar PV represented 15% of all newly installed electricity generation capacity in 2015.
  • Overall, utility-scale PV generated enough electricity to power more than 2 million homes.
  • Distributed solar PV has reached 1 million rooftop installations on homes and businesses. The cost of solar PV has dropped by 54 percent since 2008.
  • LED A-type bulbs installations exceeded 200 million through 2015, growing 160% over 2014.
    Total sales of electric vehicles soared to 490,000 as of August 2016.

Read the 2016 Revolution Now report here.

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In this issue

Remember CLEER
on Colorado Gives Day, Dec. 6

Garfield County opts into
statewide C-PACE

FWHA includes I-70 in western Colorado in national “Alternative Fuels Corridor”

Countywide biking campaign places 9th in National Bike Challenge

Carbondale offers residents half-price smart thermostats

RFTA dedicates new CNG van for Carbondale Circulator route

Bicycling, walking, hiking deliver $3B in savings, $1.6B in activity to Colorado economy

DOE report shows cost reductions and rapid deployment of clean energy technologies

EVENTS

Final Xcel Energy Partners in Energy Stakeholder Workshop, Nov. 29

Final Workshop for Carbondale Climate Action Plan, Dec. 5

IN THE NEWS

Local, state and national clean energy news


Mountain West Gives, a part of Colorado Gives Day

Remember CLEER
on Colorado Gives Day

December 6th is Colorado Gives Day, the statewide effort to support not-for-profits doing great work in our communities. Mountain West Gives is the regional effort to promote Colorado Gives Day from Aspen to Parachute.

CLEER’s work to accelerate the clean energy economy in the region impacts people’s day to day lives, and has far reaching impacts for our economy and our environment. The articles in this newsletter show examples of CLEER’s recent work.

Since our inception, CLEER has:

  • Helped our communities save more than $1.8 million a year on energy costs.
  • Stimulated more than $7 million of investment in our economy and local jobs.
  • Helped over 1,000 families and business reduce their monthly utility bills.
  • Prevented 486 metric tons of carbon from being released in our atmosphere ; equivalent to taking 376 cars off the road for a year.

Please help us continue to build a clean energy economy in our region.

Schedule your donation today.

Schedule your donation today


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 news@cleanenergyeconomy.net


EVENTS

Final Xcel Energy
Partners in Energy Stakeholder Workshop

10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29
New Castle Community Center
423 West Main St., New Castle

Please join us for the final energy efficiency and renewable energy planning workshop for the Partners in Energy project for Garfield County.

Draft strategies to make additional progress on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Garfield County will be discussed.



Final Workshop for Carbondale Climate Action Plan

5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5
Third Street Center
520 South Third St., Carbondale

The Carbondale Citizen's Advisory Group will hold the last of three workshops for updating the town’s Climate Action Plan.

The new plan will be an update from the 2006 Climate Action Plan and set new targets and goals for the future. All Carbondale residents are welcome to attend.

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IN THE NEWS

Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Oct. 7, 2016

Officials discuss renewable energy’s role in Garfield County economy

When it comes to pitching the importance of renewable energy to businesses, the monetary perks can be a more persuasive point than the environmental benefits, according to Colorado’s top economic official.

The point was one of several made at a luncheon Oct. 6 in Rifle, where elected officials, business owners and interested residents joined Fiona Arnold, director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, for a discussion on renewable energy sources.

The luncheon was part of a countywide tour hosted by Garfield Clean Energy and intended to showcase local businesses that demonstrate the importance of energy efficiency and management, alternative fuels and renewable energy, in relation to the local economy.

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Aspen Times, Oct. 5, 2016

RFTA: More funding needed as group seeks to increase transit, walking and biking in Colorado

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is the nation’s largest rural transit system and the second largest transit system in the state, but the transportation group will need more funding in order to maintain its size and reach in years to come, Chief Executive Officer Dan Blankenship said.

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Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Oct. 18, 2016

Be mindful of radon as winter approaches

As residents seal their homes this winter to keep the warm air in and bitter cold out, they must also be aware that naturally occurring radon gas may be increasing to dangerous levels within.

Roughly 40 percent of homes in Garfield County have tested for radon at levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s “action limit” of 4 picocuries per liter of air. Long-term exposure to the odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer nationwide, next to smoking.

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Denver Post, Sept. 22, 2016

Colorado’s Front Range likely to see more 100-degree days and severe storms as climate changes

In a few decades, a summer in Denver might feel like one in El Paso, Texas, according to climate research commissioned by three Front Range cities.

Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins are likely to see hot days more frequently each year, including an average of seven days with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, according to three studies released Sept. 22 by the Louisville-based Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.

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Climate Central, Sept. 27, 2016

The world passes 400 PPM threshold. Permanently.

As measured at the Mauna Loa observatory, 2016 is on track to be the year when every month will exceed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. Some climate scientists say a return below the 400 ppm threshold is unlikely in the indefinite future.

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U.S. Department of Energy
Oct. 5, 2016

Paris climate agreement reaches threshold to take effect Nov. 4

As of Oct. 5, 72 parties accounting for 56% of global greenhouse gas emissions have joined the climate agreement negotiated at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. This level of participation meets the requirement of at least 55 parties representing 55% of global emissions needed for the Paris Agreement to enter into force.

As a result, the agreement went into effect on Nov. 4, just days before the 22nd Conference of the Parties starts in Marrakech, Morocco, on Nov. 7.

"Passing the threshold for the Paris Agreement’s entry into force is a historic moment," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, "marking a new era of global consensus on climate change action. This agreement will further accelerate development of a multi-trillion dollar market for clean energy technology solutions that reduce heat-trapping emissions."

"While the agreement’s entry into force is cause for celebration, our work has just begun," Moniz said. "The central challenge for this new era will be to accelerate the deployment of energy technologies, develop new innovative low-carbon solutions quickly, meet the goals our nations have declared before the world, and encourage even greater ambition."

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Denver Post, Oct. 19, 2016

Mountain states shifting to gas power generation as Colorado goes for wind

According to an Energy Information Administration analysis of electricity generation in the eight interior West states from 2005 to 2015, coal sources were largely displaced by natural gas.

Colorado was the exception, where policies such as increases in the renewable energy standard are credited with a shift to wind energy instead.

The EIA projects that about two-thirds of new power sources coming on line by 2018 will be renewables, split about evenly between solar and wind.

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U.S. Department of Energy, Oct. 24, 2016

Sun Number partnership with Zillow brings solar potential scores to home buyers

Millions of Americans looking to buy a home have a new resource to help them go solar. Through a partnership between Sun Number and real estate company Zillow, homeowners and prospective buyers across the country can access information about a property’s solar energy potential.

The Sun Number Score, developed through DOE’s SunShot Incubator program, instantly determines a home’s suitability for solar, giving it a score from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the more ideal a home is for solar.

In August, the real estate website Zillow began to list Sun Number Scores. There’s a question mark icon next to the Sun Number so buyers can learn more about the score.

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EIA wind map

Today in Energy, Oct. 26, 2016

Wind generation share exceeded 10% in 11 states in 2015

In 2015, 11 states generated at least 10 percent of their total electricity from wind. As recently as 2010, only three states had at least a 10 percent wind share. Colorado is No. 9 in the nation, generating 14 percent of its electrical energy from wind.

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The Oregonian / Oregon Live
Nov. 9, 2016

Washington state voters defeat direct carbon tax

Washington state voters rejected Initiative 732, a carbon tax measure, 59 to 41 percent. I-732 sought to encourage businesses to conserve or switch to clean energy by making fossil fuels more expensive, and would have used the revenues to reduce other taxes.

The carbon tax would have started in July at $15 per ton of carbon emissions, go up to $25 in 2017 and incrementally increase in future years.

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The Denver Post, Nov. 9, 2016

PUC clears Xcel Energy agreement that paves way for more solar generation

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved a sweeping settlement between Xcel Energy and two dozen parties on Nov. 9, paving the way for more flexible electricity rates and a bigger role for solar generation.

The settlement, which the PUC approved without modification, resolves Xcel’s 2017 Renewable Energy compliance plan, a solar subscription program and the company’s phase II electric rate case, and headed off months of wrangling.

“Plain and simple this means more clean and affordable energy for Coloradans. Today’s decision also breaks the stalemate between utilities and rooftop solar interests by advancing fair rates for rooftop solar, customers, and the utility,” said Jon Goldin-Dubois, president of Western Resource Advocates, in a statement.

The settlement allows for two pilot programs, one to test “time-of-use” rates and another to test demand charges. The first would adjust electricity rates based on low- and high-demand periods, while the second would pass on higher charges if a customer’s total demand went over a pre-set cap.

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