Saturday marks start of Glenwood Springs being 7th U.S. city to use 100% renewable energy |

Saturday marks start of Glenwood Springs being 7th U.S. city to use 100% renewable energy

Matthew Bennett
Post Independent
New Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes and MEAN Deputy Director Brad Hans shake hands after the official renewable energy contract signing at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

This week’s windy contract signing ceremony atop Iron Mountain officially made Glenwood Springs the seventh city in the United States powered entirely by renewable energy.

Glenwood Mayor Jonathan Godes and Brad Hans with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) put the ink to the paper Wednesday afternoon at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

“I am just pleased to announce that, starting on Saturday, June 1 our electric supply organization MEAN has partnered with the city of Glenwood Springs to provide 100 percent renewable energy,” Godes said to applause from the dozens in attendance. “We have also managed to take this step without additional rate increases to our citizens.”

In April, City Council unanimously approved purchasing Glenwood Springs Electric’s electricity from renewable power sources through its wholesale power contract with MEAN.

The city’s renewable energy intake now includes 6.8 percent hydroelectric allocation from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), with the remainder being supplied by wind power sources from MEAN.

Since 2013, the city had received roughly 35 percent of its power through renewable energy sources.

According to Glenwood Director of Public Works Matthew Langhorst, at first the city was in discussions to increase that number to between 40 and 50 percent.

However, when a new wind-energy farm became available to MEAN consumers, the energy agency asked if the city would like to go entirely renewable.

“We expanded the Kimball Wind Farm and we had resources to help meet these needs,” Hans said of the wind farm located near Kimball, Nebraska that will supply much of the electricity passed along to Glenwood’s electric customers, including the mountaintop amusement park.

Additionally, according to a news release, the renewable switch “saves the environment 77,156 tons of CO2 emission.”

Wednesday’s event, which was hosted by Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, was a particularly proud moment for park owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley.

The park gave its first cave tour in May 1999 and in June 2019 will become one of the first amusement parks in the world powered entirely by renewable electricity.

“This cave … was one of the first caves in the whole world to be electrically lit 120 years ago,” Beckley said. “It is really exciting to have this electricity be brought to us in a whole new way through renewables.”

Colorado Tourism Office Director Cathy Ritter, also in attendance at Wednesday’s event, called the signing a “historic moment.”

“We are standing here, blowing in the wind, talking about the potential of wind power,” Ritter said. “We at Colorado Tourism can now tell travelers who come to our state that they can stay in any hotel in Glenwood Springs, take part in any attraction, eat at any restaurant — and they can travel sustainably.”