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LPEA board nearing long-range energy plan

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

La Plata Electric Association board members Wednesday whittled away, giving shape to a monolith known as the Long Term Alternative Energy Plan.

They’re getting near to a final shape, but there were too many could-be, maybe or might issues Wednesday to take a vote. That should occur next month.

Board members were working on the second draft of a plan that started last year when they told staff members to develop a way to increase the amount of energy produced locally from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020.

LPEA, which lights and powers La Plata and Archuleta counties, currently gets about 5 percent of its electricity from renewable and alternatve sources, the limit set by its supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

LPEA is one of 44 cooperatives supplied by Tri-State. LPEA alternative energy comes from solar, hydroelectric and methane-capture sources.

Long range, the cooperative is looking to the same sources, plus biomass, geothermal and wind.

Board members on Wednesday reviewed three options to create community solar gardens and asked for a legal review by their counsel of the Tri-State 5 percent limit on alternative-fuel energy.

They also want to learn if there is any leeway in the 5 percent rule and more information on virtual net metering.

Net metering occurs when an LPEA customer offsets an electric bill by generating more electricity than what is needed through a solar installation.

Virtual net metering allows sharing of output from a common solar or wind project.


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