GVC³: Letters to the Editor
Don't Forget About Climate Mitigation
Despite the significant challenges our county’s citizens are facing amongst the current COVID restrictions, there are positive decisions being made in regards to our attempts to move forward towards reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions here in our valley.
TriState has announced that they are lifting the 5% restriction on local renewable energy developments in their contracts with coops like Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA). Since GCEA is presently at <1% of their self renewable supply, we have abundant opportunities to expand our renewable electric options. GCEA is working to obtain assistance from outside solar contractors to research possible solar garden locations plus working in conjunction with Uncompagre on the enhanced development of the existing Taylor dam in order to generate year round reliable electricity for the valley. Both TriState and GCEA need to be praised for their efforts as do all of us who are making our voices heard at their board meetings demanding an accelerated movement to renewable energy sources and the earlier retirement of fossil fuel sources (Craig 2&3 mine and
Arizona’s Springerville mine)
On a local level, Leslie Nichols (Superintendent of Schools) is embracing input from the Gunnison Valley Climate Crisis Coalition (GVCCC) in the school’s expansion project. The group is promoting plans that would include energy efficiency and minimal GHG emissions. Investigating the possibility of utilizing a ground source heat pump system has been encouraged especially since these systems have been working well at the Court House and Health and Human Service buildiings in Gunnison and the Maroon cabin in Gothic, not to mention, all over Europe and the US. The new Library in Gunnison has drilled a test ground source heat well that has shown fantastic conductivity which could make possible their board’s desire to end up with a net zero facility. Bravo!!
We need to continue to make our voices heard and keep an eye on ALL levels of climate legislation that could mean the difference between a rich quality of life in the future vs one of having to wear masks forever!
Be well…….Sue Williamson
Member of GVCCC
April 24, 2020
Hoping GCEA Goes More Local With Power Generation
I was glad to see the article in the April 17 CB News that Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the supplier of power for Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA), will give Tri-State's utility members additional flexibility for the self-supply of power and more local renewable energy development. Members will be able to self-supply up to 50 percent of their load requirements, a significant increase from the current 5 percent limit.
I encourage GCEA to take advantage of this new provision to help Gunnison County reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change. While Tri-State is taking steps in the right direction to green their grid, I'm concerned that their pace is not consistent with scientific consensus on the pace needed to keep global temperatures from increasing above 1.5 degrees C on average. Their recent announcement that they will eliminate 100 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from coal in New Mexico by the end of 2020 and in Colorado by 2030 was welcome news. However, they continue to receive power from the Laramie River Station in Wyoming and the Springerville Generating Station in Arizona. The electricity GCEA buys from Tri-State comes from the entire system, not just from Colorado. A recent study found that Tri-state could save $424 million if it phased out its operations at Springerville.
Gunnison Valley Climate Change Coalition
April 24, 2020
Crested Butte South’s Newly Formed Climate Action Committee
The Crested Butte South Board of Directors commissioned a new Climate Action committee at its March meeting.
The committees’ mission is to advise the board and Crested Butte South’s (CBS) community about climate change effects in CBS.
This new committee will follow Gunnison County’s Sustainability Department’s path in evaluating and forecasting greenhouse gas emissions in CBS. Actions will be proposed to limit future emissions in this rapidly growing community. The committee will also assist CBS’s manager with One Valley Prosperity Project’s climate action focus.
Currently the committee is developing a greenhouse emission inventory for CBS. Homeowners are participating by contributing their energy consumption for the past year to statistically estimate residential greenhouse gas emissions. Results will serve as the basis for future actions to reduce CBS’s impact on climate change.