“Then new energy economy is something we talked about during the election,” Ritter told DMEA members at the Montrose City Hall. “Colorado is poised to be a leader in this. I congratulate you on being a part of Colorado’s new energy economy.”
Those who attended Monday’s presentation by Ritter were treated to free compact florescent light bulbs from DMEA, which is wrapping up its free 100,000 CFL program.
DMEA also provides to its power-consuming members rebate programs for solar-electric and geothermal heating/cooling systems.
DMEA’s Board of Directors launched a geothermal loop tariff program last April in which the co-op will pay for the installation of a residential ground-source heat pump’s loop – normally about half the system’s cost. A geothermal loop is a renewable energy extraction that uses a series of water-carrying pipes that extract heat (approximately 54 degrees in the Montrose area) from the ground. That heat, with the help of refrigeration technology, can be used to heat and cool homes at low cost with a minimal use of electric energy. In this system it will take approximately 1kW of energy to extract 4kW of geothermal energy from the earth.
DMEA’s rebate programs are, for Ritter, examples of a rural electric association moving toward a new energy economy. “DMEA, out of all electrical associations, is one of the strongest partners we have as far as the new energy economy is concerned,” Ritter said. “This is about charting a different course… I believe DMEA gets this notion of what a new energy economy should look like.”
Ritter made note of the fact that the very building the meeting was being held in is heated from geothermal technology and that in rural Colorado, energy efficiency and renewable energy savings can free up tax dollars for other needs.
“Look at what school districts can do when they drive down energy costs,” he said. They can put the money where is should be – back into the school.”
Ritter joined Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Anderson in presenting a $9,000 rebate check from Tri-State to Cobble Creek Golf Community for its high-efficiency geothermal heat pump system.
“I want to thank the governor for his support of the energy efficient programs,” said Dan McClendon, general manager of DMEA, adding that Ritter’s energy office has pushed for programs that are “helpful to DMEA.
“We look forward to the future,” McClendon said. “There are so many things we can do.”
Ritter fielded a spectrum of questions ranging from the Western Slope oil and gas industry to clean coal technology and the future of the North Fork coal industry. One of the things he said he is hopeful of passing in this state legislative session is a law that makes home builders offer a solar energy option to potential owners when they design their home.
The meeting in Montrose was the fourth stop on the Western Slope for Ritter. He started the day out in Grand Junction to speak at a small business finance forum and then toured the new 92,000-square-foot Leitner-Poma of America and Prinoth manufacturing plant. He then traveled to Olathe where he met with community members about a new school-based clinic.