Nine people are seeking two seats on local electric cooperative board | VailDaily.com

Nine people are seeking two seats on local electric cooperative board

EAGLE COUNTY – There’s a lot of interest in this spring’s election for the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors – at least from candidates. Nine people are seeking two seats on that board.

Voters across the utility’s service area – essentially from Parachute to Vail along Interstate 70 and from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and Carbondale to Marble – will elect two people to the seven-member board, but board members serve specific districts.

Incumbent Lynn Dwyer is seeking another three-year term representing the western district. She’s being challenged by Clem Kopf, of Glenwood Springs; Tom McBrayer, of Carbondale, and Randy Udall, of Carbondale.

Current board member George Shaeffer is leaving after three terms. Running to replace him are Dan Corcoran, of Eagle; Megan Gilman, of Eagle-Vail; Erik Lundquist, of Gypsum; Arn Menconi, of Vail, and Scott Prince, of Avon.

Occupation: I’m an electrical engineer, served in the US Army, was chief engineer of Holy Cross Energy (1970-1975), and electrical engineer for the alpine events sites for three Winter Olympic Games.

• Why do you want this job? I have attended the last 9 monthly board meetings and I believe I am uniquely qualified to add my environmental, community and electric power engineering expertise to the board.”

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• There are nine people running for two seats on the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors. What makes you the best choice? I support the Holy Cross Energy, WeCare program and believe its greatest value comes from carefully monitoring the results of demonstration projects and learning from these projects at the commercial scale size. Value also comes from “seeding” local conservation and renewable industries.

• You’ll serve a three-year term if elected. What do want Holy Cross Energy to better than it does today by the time your term is over? Implementation of Smart Grid technology will be a significant challenge over the next 5 years. This is a complex and very costly undertaking. It will require expert staff, consultant and extensive experienced board time. Behavior modification through price signals to customers is an area where there is very little practical experience in the electric utility industry.

Randy Udall

Contact information: Email udall22@gmail.com or call 970-948-1190.

• Why do you want this job? Energy is great stuff. It’s essential to pretty much everything we do. I’ve worked with Holy Cross Energy in one capacity or another for almost 20 years, and am eager to continue that productive partnership.

In recent years, Holy Cross Energy has quietly become one of the most progressive rural electric utilities in America. At the same time, its rates are among the lowest in Colorado. This is a remarkable record on which we can build.

• There are nine people running for two seats on the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors. What makes you the best choice? Look, many of the others might make fine board members. I don’t really like touting my own accomplishments, but as founding Director of CORE, I was instrumental in working with Holy Cross to start many of this area’s clean energy programs. When we started CORE, there wasn’t a single utility-scale wind turbine in Colorado, and not a single grid-tied solar system in this area.

In recent years, thanks in part to Holy Cross’ Wind Power Pioneers program, Colorado has installed nearly $2 billion worth of wind and our region of western Colorado has become a hotbed for solar energy. Indeed, Holy Cross has, per customer, more solar energy than any of the 900 rural co-ops in America. The utility’s WE Care program – which I also played a role in developing – offers energy efficiency rebates to Holy Cross customers.

In recent years, I have done some consulting for Holy Cross on power supply and climate change issues, so if elected I can hit the ground running since I’m very familiar with the utility’s senior staff and current challenges.

• You’ll serve a three-year term if elected. What do you want Holy Cross Energy to do better than it does today by the time your term is over? The local economy has been tough in recent years, so keeping electricity affordable and reliable is key. At the same time, I think there are exciting opportunities for Holy Cross to increase the share of its power coming from local renewable energy and to reduce its carbon intensity. The Piceance Basin is one of the nation’s largest natural gas fields and I’m also eager to explore the possibilities that presents. Finally, Holy Cross is on the verge of launching some new energy efficiency programs to help its residential and small business members save money on their bills.