Vail power supplier seeks boost in renewable energy |

Vail power supplier seeks boost in renewable energy

Getty Images/Stockbyte Silver | Stockbyte Silver

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The power company that serves Eagle County is trying to significantly boost the amount of renewables in its power mix by enlisting help from entrepreneurs.

Holy Cross Energy issued a request for proposals this week for up to 10 megawatts of generation from renewable sources. It wants proposals submitted by Jan. 31, 2011.

The power sources must be located within the Holy Cross service area, which includes the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys and the Interstate 70 corridor west of Glenwood Springs. Realistically, any proposals will likely be for solar farms, biomass plants and hydro-electric projects, said Del Worley, Holy Cross CEO. A wind farm of significant size probably isn’t feasible in the area at this time, he said.

Holy Cross has won acclaim for its “green” programs and is regarded as a leader among small utilities. Between 9 and 10 percent of its current power mix comes from renewable sources, Worley said. If the full 10 megawatts of additional renewable energy being sought is provided, that would boost its green power by about 5 percent, he said.

In addition, the company put out a separate request for proposals in June that sought up to one megawatt of solar power specifically. Those proposals are due at the end of the month.

In the case of both requests for proposals, Holy Cross will sign contracts for long-term power purchases from projects it deems technologically and financially feasible.

Worley said Holy Cross is pushing to add renewable sources to its power mix because repeated surveys show its members support renewable energy and energy efficiency, and are willing to pay more for programs that promote them. The company serves about 55,000 customers in the region.

The Holy Cross board of directors set a voluntary goal years ago of supplying 20 percent of the electricity used by its customers from renewable sources by 2015. The last two elections for Holy Cross board of directors seats have been dominated by professionals or activists in green energy fields, so the utility’s goals may become even greener.

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