POLICY DEVELOPMENT

The clean energy economy is coming – it’s not a question of if, but whether we’ll make the shift intentionally, wisely and fast enough.

That’s where place-based, on-the-ground organizations like CLEER come in. CLEER’s mission is to accelerate the transition in our region. CLEER develops – and builds the political will — for stronger, better climate and energy policies.

We analyze data, prepare reports, research innovative solutions, bring experts together, form partnerships, cross-pollinate ideas, facilitate agreements, make the case for strong action, and engage the public in policy discussions. Our role is to catalyze change by promoting policies that embrace clean energy as a powerful form of rural economic development.

Getting these “rules of the game” right smoothes the way for all the other work we do.

LOCAL AND REGIONAL POLICY

CLEER informs, assists, inspires and challenges local decision-makers to push the envelope on clean energy and energy-saving policies and initiatives.

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STATE POLICY

As a leader in rural energy policy in Colorado, CLEER plays a strong role in influencing state priorities and funding.

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Local and Regional Policy

CLEER was the driving force in establishing Garfield Clean Energy. The partnership of local governments within Garfield County, working closely with state agencies and utilities, has been instrumental in setting ambitious regional goals and securing funding for the programs needed to achieve those goals.

In its role as catalyst, CLEER pushes the partnership to keep pushing the envelope. In 2017, for example, we hopped on the opportunity of a planning process convened by Xcel Energy to raise the bar on county-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy targets.

The member governments of Garfield Clean Energy, in turn, contribute most of the funding for an award-winning suite of community-based energy-saving programs, which it contracts with CLEER to manage. This is a tremendously beneficial relationship, enabling CLEER to inform, assist and challenge local governments in Garfield County in energy-related policy-making.

We also help move policy forward by organizing conferences and workshops designed to generate discussion and action among decision-makers. These events have become a signature of CLEER’s, typically highlighting programs, policies and big ideas that are being put into practice elsewhere.

Through these high-profile events, as well as through offline discussions, our aim is to inspire creative thinking, encourage regional coordination, and ultimately create momentum for clean energy and energy-saving policies and initiatives.

Learn more about our successful conferences and workshops here.

State-level policy

CLEER plays an important role in state-level policymaking. Thanks to the success of our work in Garfield County, we have a seat at the table in many discussions with state agencies, particularly the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).

CLEER’s success with energy coaching in the residential and commercial buildings sector led to a proposal to CEO to use energy coaching for vehicle fleets to make the shift to alternative fuels: propane, compressed natural gas (CNG) or electricity. In 2013, CEO launched the Refuel Colorado Fleets program as a nine-county pilot, with CLEER leading a statewide team of fleet energy coaches. In less than two years, the program expanded to serve the entire state.

Drawing from our work with CEO on the Refuel Colorado Fleets program, we presented to DOLA officials the concept of state funding assistance to help local governments in rural Colorado purchase alternative-fuel vehicles. Private sector companies were able to use a state tax credit for these vehicles. Local governments needed a different means to buy down the higher up-front cost of vehicles. DOLA embraced the idea and launched the successful Alt Fuels Colorado grant program for local government agencies.

Currently, we’re working behind the scenes to make the case for a dedicated state funding stream for rural clean energy programs – something that exists in several other states, and that would enable more efforts like Garfield Clean Energy to take root around Colorado. With Colorado’s new governor, there is an opportunity to plant the seed of this idea with the incoming administration.