White River Solar Project

Earlier this month, Meeker-based White River Electric Association opened a new solar farm. WREA Members will have opportunities to lease blocks of power from the Piceance Creek Solar Farm beginning in May 2019.

The lease program will be similar to the solar leasing program at the Meeker Solar Garden which is adjacent to Meeker High School.

This is the electric co-op’s third local renewable project. The 4 megawatt project is the largest of its kind in western Colorado.

Spanish Peaks Solar Project Announced by Tri-State

Over the last 10 years, Tri-State Generation and Transmission has added more than 475 megawatts of utility scale wind, solar and other renewable energy projects to its portfolio. This diverse generation mix will continue to increase with a new solar project.

The 100-megawatt Spanish Peaks Solar Project is the fourth utility-scale solar project from the Westminster-based G&T, which supplies power to 18 of Colorado’s 22 electric co-ops. Tri-State partnered with juwi and will purchase the entire output of the project over the 15 years of the power purchase contract.

The solar site will sit on 660 acres approximately 20 miles north of Trinidad in southern Colorado. With 300,000 photovoltaic solar panels that will follow the sun throughout the day, the solar project has the potential to serve the electricity needs of 28,000 rural homes.

Construction of Spanish Peaks is anticipated to begin in 2022 with completion in 2023.

San Luis Valley REC Installs EV Charging Station

Monte Vista-based San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative recently installed an EV charger in its parking lot. The charger is a dual-port PowerCharge and the electric co-op will offer a six-month trial period for people in the area to stop by and try it out.

The Level 2 charger was installed in response to research and a survey that SLVREC consumer-members participated in. Many survey respondents showed support of the charger and of EVs in general. This charger is one of several charging locations in the San Luis Valley, according to PlugShare.com. SLVREC hopes this will spark EV interest among the electric co-op’s consumer-members.

San Isabel Electric Awards $12,000 Rebate

In an effort to make its facilities energy efficient, brighter and lower-maintenance, the Las Animas County Fairgrounds in southern Colorado switched out its outdated incandescent lighting fixtures for Energy Star-qualified LEDs.

Not only did this change make a noticeable impact on the quality of lighting at the fairground facilities, it also earned the county a rebate of more than $12,000 through San Isabel Electric Association’s commercial lighting rebate program.

The commercial rebate program helps organizations in the co-op’s service territory upgrade lighting systems to LEDs. The use of LEDs reduces electricity bills and the bulbs last 15 to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. This saves organizations money and time by reducing replacement and electric usage costs, and by not having to keep up with replacing bulbs in outdated lighting systems.

The Las Animas County Fairgrounds now features nearly 150 LED fixtures and nearly 570 linear feet of LED bulbs. They also installed timers, automatic daylight shutoff and motion sensors to save even more energy and money.

Holy Cross Energy Expands Renewable Energy

In January 2019, western Colorado’s Holy Cross Energy entered into a power purchase agreement with Guzman Energy, enabling the development of a new 100-megawatt wind farm.

Projected to connect with the grid in 2021, the wind-generated electricity will serve Holy Cross consumer-members across its service territory. It will also support Holy Cross’s clean energy goals. The co-op outlined its Seventy70Thirty plan early in 2019, calling for 70 percent clean energy by 2030. Currently its renewable electricity portfolio is at 39 percent.

Holy Cross says this partnership will reduce dependence on coal and adds renewables to the grid without increasing costs to consumer-members.

Sangre de Cristo Electric Receives EV Charging Station Grant

Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, Inc., received a grant from Charge Ahead Colorado to install electric vehicle Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations in Buena Vista. Proposed to be located on South Main, the charging stations will have two slots for Level 2 chargers and one for a Level 3 charger.

The general purpose of this project is to deploy electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state of Colorado and in the Buena Vista area with the hopes that it will reduce “range anxiety.” The inability to find public charging stations currently discourages consumers from buying EVs. According to the Colorado Energy Office, installation of the charging stations will alleviate that concern and increase the use of EVs across the state. The Buena Vista station is also expected to bring an economic boost to the area by encouraging EV drivers to pull off US Highways 285 and 24 to charge their vehicles.

SDCEA’s partnership with the Colorado Energy Office and Charge Ahead Colorado promote and support smart investments in innovative technologies. The EV charging units are expected to be online in February of 2019.

San Isabel Electric Dedicates New EV Charging Station

News of the numerous benefits of electric vehicles is spreading across the state, and the southern Colorado community of Pueblo West is a recent recipient of EV charging stations.

A $16,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office’s Charge Ahead program and funding from other local entities, including San Isabel Electric Association, makes Pueblo West Library the new home of two charging stations.

One Level 2 charger and one Level 3 charger will be at the library, with the electricity being sold at the same rate residential San Isabel Electric members pay.

Currently, San Isabel Electric members are eligible to receive $3,000 off the 2018 Nissan Leaf until January 2, 2019. And the electric co-op is offering a $500 rebate for home-based EV chargers beginning in 2019.

Highline Electric to Build Riverview Solar Project

Highline Electric Association Board of Directors approved a 1.5-megawatt solar project in late 2018 and construction is slated to begin in 2019. The 5,700 single-track solar panels will follow the sun and generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 400-500 homes.

Highline is partnering with Denver-based Pivot Energy (formerly Microgrid Energy) to bring this project online. Named “Riverview Solar Project,” it is project is projected to generate 3.8 million kilowatt-hours per year to the communities of Sterling, Atwood, West Plains, Iliff and Crook. Power from the array will feed directly into the Platte Substation and into Highline’s distribution.

Stay informed about the positive effects of this solar project with future issues of Energy Innovations brought to you by CREA.

United Power Battery Project Goes Live

United Power’s 4-megawatt storage capacity Tesla battery was installed in October and went live this earlier this month. Situated in Longmont, this is the largest lithium-ion battery in the state. After much research and evaluation, United Power is confident this innovative battery storage system will help reliably capture and store energy from both renewable and non-renewable sources on its grid.

United Power estimates that it will simultaneously power 600-700 homes over the four-hour period that the battery holds a charge. It is predicted that the battery will save about $80,000 a month, made possible by using the energy generated on United Power’s grid overnight when demand is low, storing it and distributing the electricity to consumers during peak demand daytime electricity use. The battery will alleviate some pressure on the grid during peak times, as well as decrease consumers’ bills.

United Power is Colorado’s fastest growing electric cooperative, serving more than 83,000 meters and maintaining nearly 6,000 miles of line. Stay informed on the positive effects of United Power’s innovative large-scale battery project with this Energy Innovations newsletter from CREA.

Intermountain REA Installs AMI

Intermountain Rural Electric Association, an electric co-op based in Sedalia, plans to roll out the first phase of its AMI initiative next month. Advanced meters will be installed at 1,000 residential, commercial and industrial locations.

Advanced metering infrastructure allows improved, two-way communications between the co-op and its meters. It will enable IREA to perform remote reading and connect/disconnect services, and will facilitate real-time troubleshooting to determine more accurate outage information. This means that the co-op will not have to dispatch field personnel to do these basic functions, thus making operations more efficient. AMI will also be used to automate parts of the distribution system and will allow IREA to better monitor voltage levels, thus strengthening reliability.

AMI allows IREA customers to access energy usage and cost through an online customer portal. It also allows customers to choose when the meter will be read each month for billing purposes. Overall, the co-op anticipates AMI will empower members to access more data on their electricity usage and make personalized adjustments going forward.

IREA’s service territory covers 5,000 square miles and the co-op will replace all current meters with AMI over the next several years at no charge to its consumer-members and with no rate increase.