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Electric Co-op Supports Community Innovation

Fort Collins-based Poudre Valley REA is working with the community of Red Feather Lakes to create a microgrid. The small community in northern Colorado gets its electricity delivered by a single transmission line, which is vulnerable to wildfires such as the Cameron Peak Fire currently threatening the area. It is also vulnerable to high winds, winter storms and car accidents — all of which can take out the power line and cause extended outages.

A community-driven microgrid project was initiated when the Red Feather Lakes library was awarded a grant to pursue solar panels. PVREA will control and own the microgrid, which will be installed at the local fire station. It features a 140-kilowatt/448-kilowatt-hour battery with 3.2 hours of storage. And the library, across from the fire station will have a 20-kilowatt solar array.

This innovative partnership between the community and the co-op is sure to be a model for future microgrid projects both in Colorado and nationwide.