New board to advise Garfield County on energy expenditures | AspenTimes.com

New board to advise Garfield County on energy expenditures

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Garfield County commissioners on Monday signed off on creating a new board to help advise the county on how to distribute a $1.6 million grant for energy efficiency projects in the area.

By a unanimous vote, the commissioners approved the creation of the Garfield County New Energy Communities Initiative advisory board and the appointment of nine members to it. Those people will represent nine local governments or political subdivisions that committed money to help receive the multimillion dollar grant.

The commissioners’ move comes after Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter announced in mid-October that local entities received a $1.6 million grant to implement energy efficiency and conservation programs in the area.

The money is expected to help fund several programs over the next few years to ramp up energy efficiency in new and existing buildings in the county and to install solar photovoltaic arrays in every community in Garfield County.

The new board will advise the county commissioners on all aspects of the implementation of the $1.6 million grant and “options for creating and sustaining certain aspects” of it, according to the resolution the commissioners approved, which created the board. The short-term tasks for the group are to address potential staffing needs and to identify “project elements and strategic areas” that the $1.6 million may go toward.

“This is a great step forward,” said Alice Laird, director of Clean Energy Economy for the Region, the group that spearheaded the effort behind receiving the grant.

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Laird told commissioners the Garfield County New Energy Communities Initiatives is treading new ground in the state by working with so many local governments and groups to bring energy efficiency programs across the region.

“We are having to do a lot of creating and building this as we move forward,” she said.

In July, Garfield County commissioners voted to act as a fiscal agent for the community effort’s grant application. That means the county commissioners have to “oversee project activities that will occur for the benefit of local governments and public jurisdictions, including the county itself,” according to the resolution.

While the new board does not have the authority to hire personnel or enter into contracts, there are expectations the new board “may become a separate legal entity in the future, whether by means of an intergovernmental agreement or otherwise, assuming ongoing funding,” the resolution said.

pyates@postindependent.com

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