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By November 14, 2018December 17th, 2018No Comments

December 2018 | Vol. 11, No. 4

In this issue:

Regional Clean Energy Corridor Roundtable
Buyers show demand for electric vehicles
Parachute array is first of six new solar gardens
CLEER staff updates
Recent climate and energy news

Many thanks to the generous donors who participated in Colorado Gives Day to support CLEER and its clean energy mission.

Many thanks to Alpine Bank, Holy Cross Energy, Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER contributors. Your support makes this work possible.

Alpine Bank, member FDIC
Garfield Clean Energy

Clean Energy Corridor Roundtable: Lovins explores ‘Disruptive Energy’

Leaders from utilities, governments and nonprofits will gather on Dec. 13 in Carbondale for presentations and a roundtable discussion for advancing a regional Clean Energy Corridor covering Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties.

Amory Lovins, chief scientist at Rocky Mountain Institute, will launch the discussion with a look at “disruptive energy futures,” and innovative means for the region to reach 100 percent renewable energy.


Other presenters include:

• Holy Cross Energy CEO Bryan Hannegan
• Colorado Mountain College CEO Dr. Carrie Hauser
• Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky
• Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman
• Xcel Energy Strategic Leader in Energy Innovation Eric Van Orden
• Xcel Energy Western Slope Area Manager Kelly Flenniken
• Rocky Mountain Institute consultant for NREL Solar Energy Innovation Network Kevin Brehm
• Glenwood Springs City Councilwoman Shelley Kaup
• Aspen Mayor Pro-Tem Ann Mullins
• Carbondale Trustee Heather Henry

The meeting, open to the public, is set for 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Third Street Center, Calaway Room, 520 S. Third St. in Carbondale.

The governments, utilities and institutions in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties have set various clean energy and climate-related targets. Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis has set the goal of transitioning Colorado to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, the most ambitious renewable energy goal in the country.

Over the last two years, representatives from governments, organizations and utilities in our region have convened to discuss how to meet our clean energy targets in ways that will maximize economic diversification and regional resilience.

To accelerate local efforts, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) earlier this year tapped the three-county region to participate in its national Solar Energy Innovation Network.

The Dec. 13 gathering will build on success to date, create a framework for ongoing collaboration to accelerate clean energy progress in our interconnected region, and identify key issues to address in 2019 to make progress toward adopted clean energy targets.

The meeting will identify ways that NREL’s Solar Energy Innovation Network can assist in our efforts.

The Regional Clean Energy Corridor Roundtable is cosponsored by Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER, Town of Carbondale, Holy Cross Energy, City of Aspen, Colorado Mountain College, CORE, Eagle County and Xcel Energy.

For more information, contact Maisa Metcalf at CLEER
(970) 704-9200 ext. 1101 /

Chris Lane shows his new Chevy Bolt at the public EV charger at Whole Foods Market in Basalt.

Electric vehicle campaign shows buyer demand, growth in public charging

Electric vehicle buyers purchased 38 electric vehicles through the 2018 Electric Vehicle Sales Event, with an upward trend for all-electric vehicles and growth in public EV charging stations.

The EV Sales Event was a 90-day campaign aimed at vehicle buyers in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties, running Aug. 1 to Oct. 31. It repeated a similar campaign held in 2017.

Six participating auto dealerships offered special discounts, and the campaign partners hosted four “ride and drive” events in September, when more than 100 people took new electric vehicles out for a test drive.


Participating dealers were Audi Glenwood Springs, Mountain Chevrolet, Berthod Motors, Phil Long Honda and Bighorn Toyota, all in Glenwood Springs, and Red Rock Nissan in Grand Junction.

“Buyers invested in 15 plug-in hybrids, which offer a gasoline back-up for longer trips,” said Matt Shmigelsky, electric vehicle expert with CLEER, which organized the campaign.

“Half again as many buyers, 23 altogether, felt confident about the growth in regional public vehicle charging options and bought all-electric models,” he said.

Shmigelsky also credited the growth in all-electric models to positive reviews for the Chevrolet Bolt, now in its second year of sales, increased range for the 2018 Nissan Leaf, and the pending release of the 2019 Audi E-Tron SUV.

Growing electrification in the transportation sector is building demand in the three-county region for public charging stations, Shmigelsky said, and site owners have responded.

Two years ago, the three-county region had 34 public charge stations with 61 plugs. By Nov. 30, public charging options tripled, with 93 stations and 208 plugs.

In November, Gov. John Hickenlooper awarded a $10.3 million grant to ChargePoint to build 33 fast-charge stations across Colorado.

“Fast-charging stations give EV drivers the confidence to reliably travel to all corners of the state,” said Hickenlooper.

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid buyers say the transitional vehicles, which run in electric or gasoline modes, provide the versatility needed for life in western Colorado.

The Clarity sedan, Honda’s debut in the plug-in electric market, earned kudos from local buyers.

Brad and Karla Setter of Steamboat Springs learned about the EV Sales Event and purchased their car from Phil Long Honda in Glenwood Springs.

“I love that I can plug the car into a regular outlet at home,” said Karla Setter. “I’ve been running all-electric around town. I put the car into hybrid mode so it uses gas, too, when I take longer trips. The car is fun to drive, with lots of power in both electric and hybrid modes.”

Marc and Debbie Bruell of Carbondale were looking for a car to replace their Volkswagen Golf after the manufacturer’s emissions scandal buy-back.

“It was very important to us to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Marc, who researched car options before deciding on the Honda Clarity.

“We didn’t think we could go full-on electric, so the plug-in hybrid seemed like a good fit,” said Marc. “We are getting 40 to 60 miles on a charge, and we are still getting 50 to 60 mpg in gasoline mode.”

During the Sales Event, Holy Cross Energy offered a $650 rebate to customers for installation of a Level II electric vehicle home charger. The utility awarded 23 “Charge At Home, Charge At Work” rebates.

“We believe in the electrification of transportation, and feel that we should do everything we can to help our members adapt to this new technology,” said Jenna Weatherred, Holy Cross Energy vice president for member and community relations. “We are very pleased with the response.”

She noted that in January, the utility plans to offer on-bill financing to help residential and commercial customers install Level II chargers. These 240-volt charge systems provide a faster charge, and give customers the option of setting a timer for charging to take advantage of off-peak rates.

While the Sales Event discounts have expired, the dealerships continue to offer all-electric and plug-in electric models, and the $5,000 state of Colorado tax credit, which is fully refundable, continues through 2019.

The $7,500 federal tax credit also remains in place. However, Chevrolet’s success with its Volt plug-in hybrid and Bolt all-electric mean the automaker is approaching the 200,000-vehicle cap set in the federal tax credit legislation. Federal tax credits available for the Volt and Bolt are expected to fall to $3,750 in 2019, and expire by the end of 2019.

The Electric Vehicle Sales Event was led by Garfield Clean Energy, CLEER and Refuel Colorado, and sponsored by Holy Cross Energy, City of Glenwood Springs, City of Aspen, Town of Vail, Eagle County, CORE, Walking Mountains Science Center, Alpine Bank and Colorado Mountain News Media.

the 100 kW solar array on Garfield County Housing Authority's Valley Senior Housing property in Parachute

Parachute senior housing array is first of six new community solar gardens

A 100-kilowatt community solar array built to benefit the residents of the 12-unit Valley Senior Housing in Parachute is expected to be turned on this week, according to Jon Sullivan, vice president of Pivot Energy.

It’s the first of six community solar arrays being developed by partners Pivot Energy and Standard Solar in western Garfield and Mesa counties for customers of Xcel Energy. Together, the six arrays will produce 10.3 megawatts of electricity, offsetting greenhouse gases equivalent to nearly 3,000 passenger cars driven for one year, according to Standard Solar.


A much larger 2-megawatt array (2,000 kilowatts) on the south side of Palisade is 80 percent complete, awaiting its final shipment of solar panels. Sullivan said it’s expected to start producing power by late December.

Construction is expected to begin this month on a second 2-megawatt array, located in a Grand Junction industrial area, to be completed in February. The partners will then start on a 1-megawatt project just west of Silt along I-70.

All three of these arrays are fully subscribed to Xcel customers, who will enjoy reduced electricity bills based on actual energy output. The town governments of New Castle, Silt and Parachute are among subscribers for the Palisade array, and the Silt array will serve the Battlement Mesa Metro District, the Roaring Fork School District and the Town of Carbondale.

Pivot Energy and Standard Solar continue to fine-tune their search for two more arrays approved by Xcel Energy, which will most likely be built in Garfield County. One 250-kilowatt is fully subscribed for the benefit of low-income customers of Xcel Energy. Another 2-megawatt array is still available for new subscribers.

The partners continue to look forward on community solar in western Colorado. “We applied for additional capacity from Xcel Energy, and will find out in December if we can build more,” Sullivan said.

The partners are also developing nine community solar gardens to serve Colorado’s Front Range.

News coverage

Garfield County towns to benefit from community solar gardens
Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Nov. 9, 2018

Six solar sites coming
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Oct. 30, 2018

Peter Waller and Shelley Kaup enjoy ski touring above Ashcroft on a hut trip with their spouses and friends.

CLEER staff update

At the close of 2018, CLEER bids goodbye to one staff member and welcomes three new energy experts to the team.

Energy Consultant Shelley Kaup is departing to devote more time to her service on Glenwood Springs City Council. New staffers Katharine Rushton, Pete Waller and Phil Meadowcroft will expand CLEER’s technical capacity for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

In the photo at left, Waller and Kaup enjoy ski touring above Ashcroft on a hut trip with their spouses and friends.


Kaup has worked for CLEER as a commercial and residential energy consultant for more than five years. During much of that time, she led CLEER’s work managing the Glenwood Springs Sustainability Program, which provides energy consulting and rebates to customers of Glenwood Springs Electric.

She also worked in a partnership with the Colorado Energy Office and the Glenwood Springs Board of Realtors to develop the “Buy Smart – Sell Smart – Energy Smart” program, which offered incentives to home buyers and sellers for energy efficiency upgrades, and educates real estate professionals on the Home Energy Score system.

Kaup also assisted the Roaring Fork School District in its efforts to win funding from the Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District and CORE to install a solar array at the new Riverview Elementary School.

In 2017, Kaup was elected to the Glenwood Springs City Council, and in 2018 she completed her master’s degree in Sustainability Engineering at Villanova University.

Kaup plans to devote more of her time to her service on City Council, helping guide the city government to higher levels of sustainability, and private consulting.

“We have valued Shelley’s expertise and her devotion to helping households and businesses take advantage of energy efficiency upgrades,” said Erica Sparhawk, deputy director of CLEER. “Property owners throughout the valley have appreciated her guidance on their upgrade projects.”

Rushton, Meadowcroft and Waller join CLEER team

Three new experts join the team to expand CLEER’s capacity for high quality technical service in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Katharine Rushton comes from Sunsense Solar, a thriving local solar installer and important CLEER partner, where she served as commercial sales and marketing manager since 2012. She has a 15-year career in clean energy, first as a building energy analyst and, for the past 11 years, in the solar energy industry.

Rushton will direct CLEER’s Renewable Energy Program, helping clients evaluate onsite solar feasibility, and working with organizations to achieve net zero goals for their operations.

She will also manage the regional Clean Energy Corridor Initiative, a project in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), energy utilities, local governments and other stakeholders, developing a renewable energy roadmap for the region.

Phil Meadowcroft and Peter Waller continue their teamwork, forged at Colorado Mountain College (CMC), to serve as part-time energy management consultants for CLEER.

Meadowcroft has more than 40 years of experience in the energy field, working as a natural gas supply installer, running his own plumbing and heating business, and managing facilities for CMC. In his 17 years with CMC, he managed construction projects, updated mechanical equipment and building control systems, and helped implement CMC’s sustainability goals.

Meadowcroft will help CLEER clients achieve energy efficiency goals by identifying ways to fine-tune building operations, prioritize projects, and troubleshoot comfort issues and equipment problems.

Waller served as CMC’s district-wide facilities manager, where he managed $35 million in capital projects as well as major remodels of other buildings. In a nearly 40-year career, he gained high-level experience as a private sector multifamily housing developer and as an  industrial engineer with the Intel Corp.

Waller will help CLEER clients set up energy management systems, plan capital replacement projects, develop energy and procurement policies, and assist clients and their contractors in moving projects forward.


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