Change LPEA's Green Power Policies!
Dear LPEA Board of Directors & CEO: I would like the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) to aggressively promote locally produced sustainable energy in a manner which will keep our dollars in the Durango area and greatly reduce coal generated power from Tristate. The City of Durango's proposed solar farm is the type of project that I would like to see supported by LPEA. Removal of Tristate's contractual limit of 5% maximum local sustainable production was a step in the right direction, but I would like to see more progress! We currently send $5 million a month to Tri-State, now is the time to lessen this and concentrate on renewable generation locally. Why not pay local installers and local producers for renewable energy and efficiency, rather than send our dollars to Kansas for a new coal plant. Beginning this fall, LPEA will start promoting their “Just One Block” campaign to encourage participation in the voluntary Green Power Program. LPEA currently charges $0.80 for a 100 kilowatt-hour block. This is split 50/50 with $0.40 given to Tri-State for wind generation and $0.40 retained by LPEA to fund local renewable generation and efficiency rebates. LPEA staff has proposed that the price of the blocks be dropped to $0.40 and contributors be given the option of: 1. Designating 100% to Tri-State for wind generation 2. Designating 100% to LPEA for local generation 3. Retaining the Tri-State/LPEA split Election of the Tri-State option would be best for those seeking to offset their carbon footprint. This option would be appropriate for the new library for instance. The library needs to offset its carbon footprint to maintain LEED certification and because the cost of wind generation is less expensive than other types of renewable generation, Durango would get more value if they choose this option. The local option would be best for those seeking to keep their money local. All money would be spent in the LPEA service area. It would generate local jobs, encourage local investment and ultimately purchase an increasing amount of locally produced power. Staff has also proposed an LPEA match of members’ GPP block purchases. This would “encourage and support” voluntary participation in the program. An account would be created and funded by a rate-based fee costing most local families less than $0.25 per month. The LPEA match of the voluntary Green Power contributions has not been met with a lot of support within the Board thus far, but there are several reasons why this makes sense and should be supported: 1.There is not a voluntary “no coal” option with Tri-State. Our payments to LPEA include support for Tri-States’ coal-fired generation; funding coal-fired generation is not voluntary. 2.Tri-State is experiencing demand which will require additional production. We either pay Tri-State for coal-fired generation in Kansas, wind power in Wyoming, solar in New Mexico or we can develop renewable generation here and create local economic sustainability – local technology and local jobs. 3.Tri-State is developing a solar farm in Cimarron, New Mexico. Although it is renewable generation, we first export our money to them to construct the facility and transmission lines and then for years we continue to send our money to them for generation. We could do it here with a local option and matching funds to generate a greater revenue stream for the GPP - let’s keep it local. I am a member of the LPEA coop or live within the LPEA service territory! I want sustainability to be a priority, even clean coal means the depletion of natural resources and continuing down this path will greatly affect younger community members, not the older generations making these decisions now. Consider the long-term aspects of your decisions and do not take a myopic view. Thank you for your immediate consideration of this matter.