Durango Telegraph - An electric revolution
An electric revolution

The local push to get more renewable energy and better energy efficiency out of La Plata Electric Association is tame compared to happenings in nearby San Miguel County. The discussion about the future of energy got ugly in Telluride in early June.

There, at an annual meeting of the local electrical cooperative, San Miguel Power Association, impassioned local citizens ordered the co-op to start buying 5 percent of the utility’s electricity from local sources.

What emerged in Telluride was the argument that local communities have the obligation of providing at least a portion of their needs locally and from noncarbon sources, according to a report in the Telluride Watch.

Telluride resident Pamela Zoline-Lifton argued that San Miguel Power’s existing board misunderstands its mission, saying, “They think they need to provide cheap, cheap power, but what they really need to provide is responsible power, and they haven’t recalculated that yet.”

Triggering the dispute was the plan announced last year by Tri-State Generation and Transmission to build two and possibly three new coal-fired power plants. Tri-State serves 44 member cooperatives, including LPEA and San Miguel Power, and supplies about a third of Colorado’s electricity. Earlier this year, two of Tri State’s cooperatives – Colorado’s Delta-Montrose and New Mexico’s Taos-based Carson Electric – rejected their Tri-State contracts because of the power supplier’s failure to explore alternative energy sources.

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Rolling retro

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