Garfield County groups get $1.6 million for energy conservation |

Garfield County groups get $1.6 million for energy conservation

Post Independent Staff Report
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Gov. Bill Ritter announced Tuesday that 10 Garfield County, Colorado governments and groups received a $1.6 million grant to implement energy efficiency and conservation programs in the area.

The money is largely expected to help fund 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 money will also help pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for homes and small businesses, along with code work aimed at improving the energy efficiency of new homes and neighborhoods.

The local effort received the most money out of 14 grant recipients throughout Colorado, who will all share $10 million from energy impact funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the Governor’s Energy Office.

“These 14 projects will enhance livability, strengthen the economy and reward regional collaboration throughout Colorado,” Ritter said of the grant program, which he calls the “New Energy Communities Initiative.”

Clean Energy Economy for the Region, or CLEER, was the group that spearheaded the effort for the regional partnership to receive the grant.

The group appeared before leaders in Garfield County, Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale to have those governments sign on to their effort to obtain the state grant.

The Garfield County Public Library District, the Roaring Fork School District, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and several other utilities and businesses were also involved in the effort to receive the grant.

All the groups and governments pledged $506,000 in local cash matches and more than $1.2 million in in-kind matches for 2009. However, those figures are contingent on final budget approvals. The group’s grant application also proposed setting aside $250,000 as seed funding for a clean energy investment fund.

The members of the Garfield County New Energy Communities working group, which met in the summer to shape the grant proposal, will meet on Oct. 23 to plan how they will implement the grant funding in the community.

In July, Garfield County commissioners voted to act as a fiscal agent for the group’s effort, along with providing a staff member to help with the grant application.

As fiscal agent Garfield County, is responsible for distributing the $1.6 million.

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