Electricity & Kites

Electricity and Kites

One of the greatest pastimes for kids of all ages is flying kites each spring. While we want kids of all ages to enjoy this sport, we also want them to be careful not to get their kites tangled up in power lines.

Every year in this country, children are electrocuted when their kite strings come in contact with a power line. Even though kite string is not a conductor of electricity, it can easily become contaminated with dirt and sweat, which will conduct the electrical current down the kite string. Electricity is always trying to find the shortest path to ground. It is not picky as to what path it uses.

If that path is a kite string with conducting properties and a child, it doesn’t care. It will follow that path until the path is broken We cannot emphasize enough the danger involved with flying kites near power lines. Instruct your children not to fly their kites close to any power line. Find a park or a wide-open area to fly kites. If a kite or kite string does come in contact with a power line, turn loose of the string.

A person’s life is much more valuable than any kite. If the kite or string becomes tangled in the power line, don’t try and get it out. Call your co-op, and linemen will be glad to come and extricate it from the power line. Kites and power lines just don’t mix.

Call Before You Dig

Call Before You Dig

One free, easy call gets your utility lines marked and helps protect you from injury and expense.

Know what’s below.

Always call 8-1-1 before you dig.

For more information: www.call811.com

General Safety Tips

Don’t Get Zapped By Electricity

Electricity provides the energy to turn on the lights, power a television and keep food cold in the refrigerator. But, if not used properly, electricity can be very dangerous.
Electricity travels, or is conducted, through wires to electrical outlets in your home. Wrapped around the wires is rubber, plastic or other insulating materials which protect or insulate us from the electricity. But, if this protection is broken and electricity touches you, you could be zapped by an electrical shock or be burned.
Around the house there are many ways in which electricity can hurt you if it is not used the right way. You should never put anything into an outlet except an electrical plug, and if a power cord is broken and you can see the wires inside, the cord should not be used. Also, if your hands are wet or you are standing in water you should never plug in or touch anything that uses electricity. Water is good conductor of electricity.
There are dangers outside, too. If you come across a power line that has fallen to the ground, call for help and stay far away from it. Remember, too, that you should never climb electric poles or towers. And did you know that if you climbed a tree that is touching a power line or raise a stick or pole to touch an electrical line, you could get zapped?
Your local electric cooperative provides a powerful tool you use every day –electricity. Use it safely

Safety Tips

Electricity, when used properly, is a safe and convenient form of energy, but when used improperly, electricity can cause fires, shocks, injuries, and even death. The following safety tips will help you avoid electrical accidents.
  • Be careful with electrical cords; don’t place cords where people will trip over them or where they will receive excessive wear; keep cords away from heat and water; don’t pull on cords to disconnect them, pull on the plug; and don’t twist, kink or crush cords.
  • Never use an appliance while standing in water or when wet.
  • Don’t touch metal plumbing or metal objects and appliances at the same time.
  • Keep combustible materials away from lamps or heating devices.
  • Disconnect appliances before cleaning.
  • Keep ladders away from electric power lines.
  • Turn off circuits when changing light bulbs.
  • In case of an electrical fire, call the fire department, unplug the appliance if it is safe to do so, and use a class “C” rated fire extinguisher or baking soda. Never use water.
  • Never touch broken electric lines. Call the police and the electric company immediately.
  • In case of electric shock, do not touch the victim until the electricity is turned off. If the victim is in contact with the electric power lines, the only safe procedure is to call the power company. If the victim is in contact with a low voltage cord, use a dry rope or stick to remove the victim. Call the hospital and, if necessary, give artificial respiration or, for shock, cover victim and raise the victim’s feet.
  • Never attempt to remove a kite from electric power lines, and be aware of the location of electric power lines when flying kites.
  • When climbing trees, be sure that electric power lines don’t touch the tree; if they do don’t climb the tree.

Green Power Program Still Benefiting Electric Co-op Members

Throughout the U.S., there is an increased demand to further develop sustainable and renewable clean energy sources such as solar power and wind energy to promote Green Power programs. Mountain View Electric Association, with offices in Limon and Falcon, started offering Green Power in 2000 at the cost of $2.50 per 100-kilowatt-hour block. Today, the cost is only 10 cents per 100 kWh block (in addition to the member’s base rate).

Co-op members who choose to participate in MVEA’s Green Power program are purchasing renewable energy credits, known as RECs, which are either purchased on the open market or from Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s own REC portfolio. Tri-State, MVEA’s power supplier, is dedicated to developing renewable sources of energy and incorporating them into its resource planning. Its commitment to ongoing development ensures Green Power is readily available to electric cooperative members.

Tri-State’s renewable energy projects in Colorado include wind farms, small solar farms and small hydropower projects. When members sign-up to participate in MVEA’s Green Power program, they are not only helping to fund these projects but also the creation and expansion of future renewable energy projects for future generations. Members who purchase RECs through MVEA’s Green Power program know that their money is going to support the continued development of renewable energy resources.

For the average residential consumer that uses 1,000 kilo-watt hours per month, opting in to MVEA’s Green Power program would be an additional investment of only $1 a month. For those wanting to contribute more or less, 100-kWh blocks may be purchased for 10 cents each.

Electric Cooperative Investing in Local Solar

Solar energy, generated from locally-based solar panels will soon be powering the homes of United Power members.

Early stages of construction on the 130-acre solar farm.

Early stages of construction on the 130-acre solar farm.

Silicon Ranch will own and operate the facility and United Power will buy and distribute the electricity over a 20-year period.In late 2014, Brighton-based United Power initiated an effort to incorporate cost-effective local renewable energy sources to complement the power it purchased from its power supplier. To help meet its renewable energy goals, United Power partnered with Silicon Ranch Corporation, one of the nation’s leading developers, owners and operators of solar energy facilities. Through that partnership, the local electric cooperative will buy the electricity generation by the 13-megawatt solar farm 3 miles east of downtown Fort Lupton.

“United Power’s staff worked diligently to acquire this project and to set the power purchase agreement into place for Silicon Ranch,” said Ron Asche, United Power CEO. “We are excited that all the production from this project will be used right on our own distribution system and will power nearby homes and businesses. United Power is a strong supporter of renewable energy, and this system will enhance our commitment of these resources.”

Once completed this spring, the 130-acre solar farm will generate 34.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year from approximately 160,000 solar panels – enough to power 2,500 households.

Utility-Scale Solar Garden Coming Soon in Co-op Territory

Construction of Intermountain Rural Electric Association’s 15.9-megawatt utility-scale solar farm in Adams County is underway, with the help of juwi’s U.S. subsidiary, which is based in Boulder. The location of the new solar park is near the electric cooperative’s Victory substation. It will deliver solar energy through the power purchase agreement between IREA and juwi.

“The construction of a utility scale solar project at a location adjacent to our existing infrastructure allows us to obtain renewable energy at a competitive price,” Josh Liss, IREA’s public and regulatory affairs director, said in a juwi press release. “It’s a win-win for the association and our members.”

The Victory Solar project will help IREA achieve compliance with Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard. This solar project, once complete, will be the third utility-scale array in Colorado built and operated by juwi. The Victory Solar project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016.

Co-op’s New Solar Garden Focuses on Low-Income Members

Yampa Valley Electric Association, with offices in Craig and Steamboat, is one of five electric co-ops that has partnered with GRID Alternatives Colorado and the Colorado Energy Office to develop a community solar array that will be 100 percent dedicated to lower income YVEA members. Members participating in this program will receive a bill offset from the energy produced by their portion of a community solar array.

GRID Alternatives Colorado is a nonprofit organization that makes renewable energy technology and job training accessible to under served communities. GRID brings together community partners, volunteers and job trainees to implement solar power for lower-income households, providing energy cost savings, hands-on installation experience and a source of clean, local energy that benefits everyone.

An analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that “between 50 percent and 75 percent of households and just over 50 percent of businesses are unsuitable to host photovoltaic systems on their roofs because of shade, orientation, structural factors or ownership issues.” In community solar gardens, participants get the benefits of energy from the sun as if the solar system was on their roof, but their solar panels are located offsite away from their home in a larger, shared community array.

With the GRID project, YVEA is choosing to experiment with owning, operating and maintaining the garden, unlike the co-op’s Clean Energy Collective Array in Craig which was built and managed by the developer of the solar garden. GRID will help YVEA build the new solar garden and support it over time.

To qualify for this program, participants must pay their own electric bill to Yampa Valley Electric and their total household income must be at, or below, 80 percent of the area median income of their county.

Co-op Celebrates its First Solar Garden

White River Electric Association in Meeker held a solar garden ribbon cutting ceremony this month to officially announce that its Meeker Solar Garden is up and running. This is the cooperative’s first solar garden and all available solar panel leases are taken.

The WREA 2016 annual lease fee is $36 with an annual solar production credit of $60.This equates to a cost of $3 per month with a production credit of $5 per month. Other solar garden business models require long-term contracts with expensive upfront lease fees.

More than half of Colorado’s electric co-ops now have solar gardens, or will soon have solar gardens, to benefit their members.

Businesses, Schools Get Paid for Energy Efficient Upgrades

Bob Brooker, Ute Mountain Travel Center and Casino General Manager, receives a rebate check from Dellinger.

Bob Brooker, Ute Mountain Travel Center and Casino General Manager, receives a rebate check from Dellinger.

Empire Electric Association’s general manager, Josh Dellinger, has been busy presenting substantial rebate checks to two local businesses and a high school that recently improved their buildings’ energy efficiency.

Montezuma-Cortez High School Superintendent Alex Carter received a check for $138,400 for the ground source heat pump installation in the new high school. EEA and its power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, each provided rebates of $69,200. The heat pumps are controlled by a computerized system that maintains constant classroom temperatures between 72 and 74 degrees.

The Ute Mountain Travel Center and Casino received a rebate check for $11,603 for the installation of LED parking lot lighting. The new lighting is more efficient and brighter than previous lighting and will save money each month on the casino’s electric bill.

Dellinger presents a rebate check to Eschallier.

Dellinger presents a rebate check to Eschallier.

One of the owners of Kokopelli Bike & Board of Cortez, Pete Eschallier, received a rebate check for $2,878.50 after installing LED lighting in the showroom. There are now fewer lights operating at less cost while providing brighter lighting for customers.

Towns Swap Traditional Lights for LED Streetlights

Delta-Montrose Electric Association’s LED streetlight initiative is making a tremendous energy-savings and aesthetic impact in the Delta, Montrose and surrounding areas, and the reception has been positive.

In the fall of 2015, the town of Cedaredge made the switch to LED streetlights, cutting its monthly street lighting costs in half. In addition to using less energy than traditional lights, LEDs last much longer. On average, LED lamps last 10 to 15 years as compared to 4 to 6 years for older technologies. By swapping out the town’s 92 streetlights, Cedaredge will see significant savings on its energy bill and also cut DMEA’s maintenance and material costs.

“We’re very happy with the LED lights. They are a lot brighter, and many people have commented that they just feel safer. The new LEDs provide a better quality of light. And of course, the reduced electric bill for the town of Cedaredge is a huge plus,” said Kathleen Sickles, Cedaredge town administrator.

“Credit must be given to our town governments, like Cedaredge, for recognizing the value of LEDs, both from an efficiency standpoint and a quality standpoint. I’m proud to see our small towns leading the way and making changes that haven’t even happened in some of the largest cities in the U.S.,” said Phil Zimmer, DMEA energy services supervisor.

The towns of Crawford and Cedaredge already made the transition to all LED street lighting. Montrose made the switch for its highest rated lamps, trading in 400-watt mercury vapors for 38-74 watt LEDs. Olathe and Hotchkiss are next. Both recently approved plans to move forward with LED street lighting.

“Our board of trustees is constantly working to find ways to use taxpayer money in the most efficient way possible. DMEA’s proposal to transition our streetlights to LEDs provided an opportunity to reduce our energy costs and improve the quality of lighting throughout town. With a payback period of just 3.5 years and the potential for future savings, it just made sense,” said Patty Gabriel, Olathe town administrator.

DMEA proposed plans for transitioning to the energy-saving technology to all towns and cities within the co-op’s service territory.