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Colorado: Energy efficiency push could generate huge windfall and reduce the need for new power plants

Coal mining is so 19th century.

Study claims investments in energy efficiency show two-to-one return

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — While oil and gas companies push for development of new resources, yet another study makes it clear that conservation is an equally important factor in the energy equation.

An all-out energy efficiency effort could help Colorado utilities avoid spending nearly $7 billion constructing and operating power plants, and generate an economic windfall of $4.8 billion for the state, according to Howard Geller, director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

Geller’s organization this week published a new report outlining a step-by-step approach to realizing those savings, showing that every dollar invested in energy efficiency programs returns more than two dollars in savings on business and household utility bills in the southwest. The report is available, along with state-by-state findings, at www.20BillionBonanza.com. Continue reading

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Summit County: Dueling energy programs?

A local ballot measure backed by a Front Range group could create funding for renewable energy installations like this photovoltaic array, while a smaller-scale program run by the county would focus on energy efficiency improvements. PHOTO COURTESY OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY.

Local plan focuses on efficiency upgrades, ballot measure backers say their plan would cover businesses and renewable installations

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A renewable energy measure proposed for the November ballot is a good idea, but could end up costing taxpayers more than anticipated in administrative costs, according to assistant county manager Thad Noll.

A Larimer County based group called Community for Sustainable Energy has started circulating petitions in Summit County to create an Energy Smart Local Improvement Program, authorized under Colorado House Bill 1350.

If passed, the measure would enable the county create a bond-funded revolving loan program for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations. In a canvassing letter, the group says the measure would allow home and business owners to avoid the large upfront costs of renewable energy and efficiency improvements. The program would be voluntary and would pay its own way administratively.

Summit County is in the process of setting up a similar program funded with federal money and state dollars from the Governor’s Energy Office and with $100,000 out of the county’s budget, Noll said. The county is concerned that the ballot measure could end up costing more than anticipated by requiring additional staff. The county’s program would not cover businesses and would not pay for renewable energy installations like solar panels. Continue reading

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