Glenwood hosts clean-energy workshop |

Glenwood hosts clean-energy workshop

Post Independent Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Craig Perkins used his position as the director of public works in Santa Monica, Calif., to cut 2005 energy use in the city of 90,000 back down to 1990 levels.

He now runs The Energy Coalition, a coalition of business, local government, environmental and school groups working together on aggressive energy programs in cities throughout Southern California.

Perkins is coming to Glenwood Springs on Friday to share his expertise and help this region advance aggressive, comprehensive programs to reduce energy use, save money and build a clean energy economy.

A free workshop, “Advancing the Clean Energy Economy: Tools for meeting aggressive energy goals,” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, June 13 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Everyone is welcome, but RSVPs are due by June 11.

Organizing the event is a new organization, Clean Energy Economy for the Region, or CLEER, which will focus its efforts on promoting clean energy in the region in the greater Roaring Fork Valley.

“We will be getting advice from an expert who has achieved significant energy savings and has already started and managed several successful community energy programs,” said Jacque Whitsitt of Basalt, chairperson of CLEER and a Basalt Town Council member. “This workshop is aimed at building a clean energy economy in our region, with aggressive energy saving and climate protection programs and services from Parachute to Aspen.”

Workshop speakers also include Seth Portner and Joani Matranga from the Governor’s Energy Office, Dan Richardson of Schmueser Gordon Meyer and former head of Aspen’s climate initiatives, Auden Schendler of the Aspen Skiing Co., and local energy expert Randy Udall.

To attend Friday’s event, e-mail or call 704-9200 by Wednesday, June 11.

In 1994, Perkins said, Santa Monica leaders adopted targets for energy reductions for city government operations and for the community at large.

Santa Monica also started working with The Energy Coalition in regional partnerships with other communities, such as Irvine, Calif., that were working to take greater control of their energy future.

“Santa Monica can be utopia on Earth, but it won”t amount to a drop in the bucket if that’s the only place this happens,” Perkins said.

Santa Monica was interested because of the environmental benefits; Irvine was attracted by the economic pay-offs.

The energy programs paid off. By 2005, energy use in the community of Santa Monica was down to 1 percent below 1990 levels, and the city government’s energy use was at 20 percent below 1990 levels.

The city’s new goal is to install 100 megawatts of rooftop solar power through its Solar Santa Monica program – about 700,000 panels and enough power for about 25,000 people.

“Energy efficiency is a good thing, no matter what the reason,” said Perkins, who took over as The Energy Coalition’s executive director in March 2008.

The Energy Coalition’s work has spread to 10 cities, with a lead demonstration project in the city of Palm Desert. Its “Set To Save” program aims for a 30 percent reduction in energy use within five years.

Perkins is working with six local governments in Los Angeles to launch energy projects with measurable results.

“We are aiming toward a commitment that, within three to six months, we will come up with one or two collaborative projects related to energy efficiency. All the cities will work together and invest in a project, such as a jointly funded solar array on a parking structure.

“We’re looking for something they can all point toward, that shows the power of working together,” Perkins said.

He is also working with the governments to offer a consistent permitting process for building projects that use energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“There are lots of opportunities. Now we need to sit down and define the actions, the commitments and the follow-up steps,” Perkins said.

On Friday, Perkins will be giving Roaring Fork and Colorado River valley community and business leaders advice on how to launch similar projects here.