LPEA’s green power wins national honor

Southwest Colorado’s commitment to green power has garnered national recognition. Last week, La Plata Electric Association was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with a Green Power Leadership Award. The local electric cooperative was one of only six organizations in the nation to receive the accolade, which honors commitment to supporting renewable electricity.

The Green Power Leadership Awards were held in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 20. At the ceremony, LPEA was named, along with Portland General Electric, as Utility Green Power Programs of the Year. LPEA is the only rural electric cooperative in the nation to have received the award.

Greg Munro, LPEA CEO, noted that the cooperative has spent little money on marketing green power and that the program’s success can be traced to a grassroots effort. “Credit for LPEA’s success in our Green Power program goes to our creative and enthusiastic LPEA staff and board, which have worked hard to get the word out to our communities about the benefits of supporting renewable energy, as well as how easy it is for everyone to do their small part,” he said. “In turn, our communities deserve praise for stepping up and voluntarily paying a premium for electricity from a renewable resource.”

Every year, the Department of Energy highlights outstanding organizations in the realm of green power. LPEA has been pormoting voluntary green power purchase for more than a decade. Within the last year, the co-op launched its “Just One Block” program to encourage purchase of 100-kWh blocks of green power for 10 cents.

Currently, LPEA members are voluntarily purchasing 25,500 100-kWh blocks of green power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission. This accounts for more than 25 percent of the renewable energy sold by Tri-State, which serves 44 co-ops in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. LPEA has also supported local renewable generation projects, providing rebates for residential and commercial solar arrays to installing PV panels at local schools. Currently, a total of 1 megawatt of green power is being generated from local systems within LPEA’s service territory.

In spite these successes, LPEA leaders opted to take a pass on attending the recent awards ceremony. “We would have liked to attend the awards celebration, especially since there were only six organizations being honored,” said Munro. “Given these challenging economic times, however, we didn’t think that this was a prudent use of our members’ money. We opted to just stay home and continue to get our jobs done.”

For more information on LPEA’s Green Power program, call 247-5786 or visit www.lpea.coop/green_power.

Quiznos Challenge to name host cities

Durango is nearing the Quiznos Pro Challenge finish line. Durango should hear next week if it made the cut to be a host city in the 2011 road race. Local leaders and cycling advocates feel that Durango’s odds are strong, even though race organizers have received 23 applications from would-be host cities.

The seven-day race, set for Aug. 22-29, 2011, is expected to bring top international talent through a wide expanse of the state and promises to be a marketing boon for each of the race’s host cities.

The race has been dubbed the Quiznos Pro Challenge in honor of its main sponsor, the Denver-based sandwich chain. It is an attempt to resurrect the legacy of the Coors International Bicycle Classic – a preeminent cycling race from 1979-88 – and bring world class cycling competition back to Colorado.

The race will include a mix of mountain, sprint and town stages chosen to “highlight the beauty of Colorado and its communities.” The only given is that Denver will serve as the race’s start or finish.

With visions of the Tour de France spinning in their heads, communities all over Colorado are scrambling for the status of hosting one of the race’s remaining six stages.

Durango, which would like to host the Pro Challenge’s starting line, makes for a natural starting point for a variety of reasons, according to the application. Starting here, cyclists could cover a larger portion of the state, south-to-north, on their seven-day journey to Denver. More significantly, Durango has a proud history of hosting top cycling events: it was home to the inaugural

Mountain Bike World Championships in 1990 and the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is coming up on its 40th anniversary in 2011.

Local proponents are confident. “When you look at the requirements that are listed in the application, there aren’t many towns that could host a stage,” said Mary Monroe, executive director of Trails 2000. “Durango is a perfect fit. We’ve got the infrastructure, and when you look at what we’ve done with the Iron Horse, Durango could easily pull this off.”

Councilor Meigs tenders her resignation

Durango City Councilor Leigh Meigs is stepping down next week. Meigs has accepted the part-time position of District Court Magistrate for the 22nd Judicial District in Cortez and will resign from City Council on Nov. 7.

“I am proud of implementing progressive initiatives in Durango that I ran on, especially extensive open space preservation and establishment of an affordable housing policy that will benefit Durango for generations to come,” said Meigs, who has served on council since April 2007.

During Meigs tenure, the City of Durango purchased more than 1,000 acres of open space in Horse Gulch and at Cliff Rock; and critical habitat next to Perins Peak State Wildlife Area and the Twin Buttes development. In addition, the council created a new affordable housing policy in 2008, combining Fair Share legislation and grant funding provided by the Regional Housing Authority to create a new pool of affordable/attainable homes.

Cyclocross season returns to Durango

Mud, sweat and gears return to Durango this weekend. The Fort Lewis College Cyclocross Series leaves the starting line Oct. 31 and runs through the series finals on Dec. 5.

Cyclocross races fill cycling’s fall and winter shoulder seasons with precarious and often muddy courses negotiated on skinny but knobby tires. Barriers and obstacles are also thrown into the mix, forcing riders out of the saddle and adding a steeplechase component to the two-wheeled discipline.

The local cross season will kick off Oct. 31 with SpookyCross, a special Halloween race at Dennison Field football stadium on the Fort Lewis College campus. In the coming weeks, the FLC Cyclocross Series will travel to other venues around the Four Corners, first to Cortez, then Mancos and Aztec before returning to Durango.

Registration for SpookyCross begins at 4 p.m. at the stadium and runs up until 15 minutes before the start of each race. More information on the Cyclocross Series can be found at: http://cycling.fortlewis.edu. Riders looking for a little work on their cyclocross skills are in luck. Cross practices meet at Fort Lewis College at noon on Wednesdays.

– Will Sands




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