The Governer’s Energy Office (GEO) funded the creation of Community Energy Coordinators in low populations regions throughout the state of Colorado through a grant awarded through the Department of Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant. CECs support the development of a Sustainability Action Plan and promote other actions/programs to assist with the state’s New Energy Economy goals. In 2010, EcoAction Partners was awarded a CEC position for 2 years to coordinate energy efficiency and sustainability efforts in Ouray and San Miguel Counties. This position, awarded to Kim Wheels, EcoAction Partners’s energy specialist, includes developing a sustainability action plan for the region, communicates with and promotes GEO programs, opportunities, and grants, facilitates community education, works with the energy building codes, implements programs, and designs a climate action plan for the region. The CEC position assembled an advisory board entitled the Western San Juan Community Energy Board (WSJCEB) to help accomplish these tasks, which includes elected officials, utility representatives, community participation, and government staff.
The WSJCEB followed the GEO’s process for development of STRATEGY & Action Plan including establishing Mission/Vision statements, a SWOT Analysis, Gap Analysis, and establishing goals & actions for energy reduction in the region. Regional Objectives, Goals and Actions, with some jurisdictional specific actions were developed as a part of the Regional Sustainability Action Plan. The plan for implementation focuses on regional collaboration among jurisdictions, utilities, and individual citizens. Following are excerpts from the regional sustainability action plan including the Mission Statement, vision, and sample objectives. A full copy of the document can be found HERE.
Mission Statement: The Western San Juan Community Energy Board (WJSCEB) will advance the New Energy Economy so that our communities will have economic opportunities related to energy efficiency and renewable energy and will develop and thrive in a sustainable manner.
The Vision of the Western San Juan Community Energy Board (WSJCEB) is to preserve our clean air, water, and natural environment for future generations. We will achieve this through being a leader in reducing the per capita consumption of valuable natural resources through education, efficiency, and the implementation of renewable energy projects. Goals require a baseline of data from which to measure progress established through a Regional Greenhouse Gas Inventory with help from SMPA & Sourcegas.
Continued analysis will guide us with selecting priorities of actions to take, educating the communities about our energy consumption, and help determine best methods for engaging the different communities
- Community Engagement 1: Ensure that policy decisions at all levels (government, business, and individual) advance the New Energy Economy so that our communities will have economic opportunities related to energy efficiency and renewable energy and will develop and thrive in a sustainable manner. Implement a highly visual, public overall measure of progress.
- Community Engagement 2: Improve education of our regional population, both permanent and part-time, so that all are continually informed about actions they can personally take to reduce per-capita energy consumption, and understand the relationships between energy and water conservation, saving money, environmental preservation, and GHG reduction.
- Overall Energy Consumption: Decrease per-capita energy consumption in San Miguel and Ouray Counties 20% by 2020 from 2005 levels, defining “per- capita” as the total number of regional inhabitants, both full-time and part-time, and using Source Gas and SMPA utility data, through a broad-based, multi-sector, multi-disciplined approach that employs education and action focused on energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable resources.
- Renewable Energy: Obtain 20% of the region’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Sources will include a mixture of local small and large-scale renewable energy projects and purchase of RECs for renewable energy produced outside of the region.
- Transportation: Reduce the overall amount of energy consumed per capita by ground and air travel.
- Water: Decrease overall water consumption community-wide in private and public sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental) by 10% below 2005 levels by 2020 through education, conservation, incentives, facilities management, and regulatory structure.
- Landfill Waste Reduction & Recycling: Divert 75% of overall waste from landfills by 2020, by reducing the amount of waste at the source, reusing materials, recycling, and composting.
- Agriculture & Forests: Utilize our regional natural resources wisely, increasing local food production utilizing available biomass wisely, and preserving our natural environment for future generations.
We have completed the STATEGY / Action Plan!!! We now have a working document from which to implement sustainability actions for Ouray and San Miguel Counties. Each jurisdiction has provided input to the STRATEGY and appointed an Energy Action Coordinator (EAC). EAC’s will meet once a month to prioritize regional actions, discuss best methods of implementation, and collaborate on projects. They will implement actions on a jurisdictional level and assist EcoAction Partners with engaging the community in reducing our regional carbon footprint.
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