YVEA Unveils New EV Fast Charger

Steamboat Springs-based electric cooperative Yampa Valley Electric Association unveiled and energized a new EV charging station on February 8.

YVEA’s partnership with Routt County, the town of Yampa, the Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Energy Office and Travelodge by Wyndham brought the Level 3 EV charging station to the area. Located at the Travelodge in Yampa’s central business district, the fast charger will connect the important travel corridor along Colorado Highway 131. It will also connect Yampa to Meeker along the Flattops Scenic Byway.

This is the second grant YVEA received through the CEO’s Charge Ahead Colorado program. The first grant in 2019 helped install two EV charging stations at YVEA’s campuses in Craig and Steamboat Springs. The EV charging station in Craig was the first public charging station in Moffat County.

“EVs will benefit our cooperative, membership, communities and environment as we strive to ‘electrify everything,’” YVEA CEO and General Manager Steve Johnson said.

New Co-op Program Combines Efficiency and Solar

Ridgway-based electric cooperative San Miguel Power Association has developed programs for income-qualified consumer-members who struggle to pay their electric bills. SMPA designed these I.Q. programs to enhance the co-op’s home efficiency program — the I.Q. Weatherization Program — and to increase consumer-members’ access to community solar.

Assistance from the I.Q. Weatherization Program begins with a complete home energy assessment courtesy of the cooperative. The co-op’s energy auditor visits a consumer-member’s home to perform a blower door test and to take other measurements to determine the energy efficiency of the home. The tests reveal if the home needs upgrades such as LED lighting, low-flow fixtures, air sealing work, insulation upgrades, appliance upgrades and other energy efficiency improvements that can lower electricity use and high electricity bills. Once the improvements and upgrades are made — at no cost to the consumer-member — the savings on the monthly electric bill are immediate and significant.

After the energy audit and upgrades are complete, the consumer-member is enrolled in the I.Q. Solar Program, where they are granted a five-year subscription to the co-op’s 200-kilowatt community solar array. This solar program gives those qualified consumer-members access to a maximum of 2 kilowatts of generation, providing savings from local and renewable solar power. Consumer-members receive bill credits for their portion of the array’s generation each month, thus lowering their bills even more.

In true cooperative spirit, SMPA is excited to provide these weatherization and solar programs to its consumer-members in need of help.

Electric School Bus Comes to Southern Colorado

Durango-based La Plata Electric Association collaborated with Durango School District 9-R to apply for a grant to purchase a fully-electric school bus and install the necessary charging infrastructure.

The district was awarded over $300,000 for the equipment through the grant from the Regional Air Quality Council’s ALT Fuels Colorado program. The grant to the school district was one of eight grants awarded out of 38 total applicants. LPEA will contribute an additional $120,000 to help cover costs.

Not only is this the first electric school bus for the school district, but it is also the first vehicle-to-grid installation in LPEA’s service territory. Using bi-directional charging, the bus can pull electricity from the grid to charge during off peak hours, and LPEA can pull electricity from the vehicle onto the grid during critical times when power is needed.

This innovative project will reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality.

More Solar Power for United Power Consumer-Members

Brighton-based United Power recently completed construction on its newest solar project, Rattlesnake Solar Farm.

This solar farm will provide an additional 6 megawatts of energy to the electric cooperative’s renewable energy portfolio, bringing United Power to more than 43 MWs of local, utility-scale solar. This is in addition to the more than 5,500 residential rooftop systems that are connected to United Power’s system.

The advancement and innovation of local renewable energy is not new for United Power. It launched its first innovative community solar model in 2009, which was the first of its kind in Colorado.

NE Colorado Has EV Charger, Thanks to Electric Co-op

Highline Electric Association announced recently that its new Level 2 EV charging station is ready for public use at its headquarters in Holyoke. This is the first public charging station for electric vehicles the co-op owns and the first within the Phillips/Sedgwick/Chase/Washington county area of northeastern Colorado.

The Enel X JuicePedestal 40 dual head station was purchased by the co-op after it applied for a Charge Ahead Colorado grant last year through the Colorado Energy Office. In addition to receiving the grant, the northeastern Colorado co-op’s power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, offers a rebate program to its member co-ops to help offset the costs of new EV infrastructure.

Rates for the station are $0.50 per charging session plus $0.08 per kilowatt-hour usage. Highline Electric Association Manager of Member Services Tad Huser says, “My Nissan Leaf takes about 12 kWh to charge back to 100% from my 40-mile commute from home to the HEA office. My charge costs the $0.50 session charge plus $0.96 for the 12 kWhs used for a total of $1.46.”

Highline Electric is excited for this EV charging station addition to its headquarters and region.

Community Solar Garden Begins Production

Gunnison County Electric Association recently announced that the new community solar garden at its Gunnison headquarters is officially producing energy. This is the co-op’s second community solar garden. 

The new array is 101 kilowatts, which is five times the size of GCEA’s solar garden in Crested Butte. It’s clear that the community solar garden is a popular option for GCEA’s consumer-members to participate in clean, renewable energy; the short-term, month-to-month lease option is currently sold out. The co-op also offers a 20-year lease option. 

How does community solar work? Consumer-members may lease up to 5 panels per month at $4.71 per month, per share. Consumers then receive a bill credit for the monthly production of their solar shares. 

GCEA is working with other entities to develop additional community solar arrays and plans to have at least one additional project completed in 2021.

The solar garden is an easy and affordable way for GCEA consumer-members to support local renewable energy.

Tri-State logo

Tri-State Committed to Reduce Statewide Emissions

During recent proceedings, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission accepted Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s voluntarily-announced retirement dates for its coal power plants Craig Station Units 2 and 3. This is after the AQCC was considering enforcing early closures.

According to a Tri-State press release, the plan meets or exceeds federal requirements to improve visibility in Colorado’s national parks and wilderness areas, according to Tri-State CEO Duane Highley. The cooperative power supplier’s Craig Station Unit 1 will retire by December 31, 2025; Craig Station Unit 2 by September 30, 2028; and Craig Station Unit 3 by December 31, 2029.

And separate from the AQCC proceedings, Tri-State and Gov. Jared Polis announced Tri-State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado by 80% by 2030. This is part of Tri-State’s innovative Responsible Energy Plan. Tri-State filed its Electric Resource Plan with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on December 1. The ERP includes a preferred scenario to reach emissions reductions by retiring Craig station, adding 1,850 megawatts of renewable resources and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that support state goals.

EV Charger Added, Thanks to Co-op

The town of Fraser took advantage of Mountain Parks Electric’s Electrify Everything program and installed a Level 3 electric vehicle charger. With a grant from the Granby-based electric cooperative and the Colorado Energy Office, this is the first fast-charging station in Grand County. It is located at Lions Ponds, and the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in late November.



Poudre Valley REA logo

Co-op CEO Wins Award

Poudre Valley REA CEO Jeff Wadsworth was named Fortnightly Foremost Innovator in Microgrids for 2020. The recognition was awarded by Public Unity Fortnightly, a utility organization that supports innovation. The yearly Fortnightly Top Innovators awards select the most outstanding individuals in 10 categories of innovation.

Wadsworth was honored for PVREA’s work installing a microgrid for Red Feather Lakes, a community which is served by one transmission line prone to damage from weather, natural disasters and human accidents. The cutting-edge microgrid technology will provide backup for the electric grid for the area. It is one of the first in the state. PVREA’s goal is to have the microgrid operational by spring.

Holy Cross logo

Co-op Commits to Go Carbon Free

Holy Cross Energy in Glenwood Springs announced a new, ambitious 100X30 goal to provide 100% carbon-free electricity to its consumer-members by 2030. The announcement was made in a press conference December 14 with Gov. Jared Polis offering his congratulations to the co-op. The 100X30 plan follows the co-op’s Seventy70Thirty plan announced in 2018 in which the co-op pledged to provide 70% of its power from clean and renewable resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% from 2014 levels by 2030. That plan is ahead of schedule and the co-op rewrote its goal to create the 100×30 goal.