Bioenergy, Solar

Colorado Funds Renewable Energy Grants

Nearly US$500,000 in grants have been awarded to fund renewable energy, energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects in communities along Colorado’s Western Slope.

Denver Colorado, Septeber 11, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The community-based project awards are the result of negotiated settlements between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and businesses cited for environmental violations. The StEPP Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists businesses and governments in identifying and administering suitable environmental projects, will oversee project implementation. “We’re pleased that we can award another round of grants,” said Colorado’s Governor Bill Owens. “These projects will directly benefit a number of communities in our state and the Coloradoans who live and work there.” The projects involve a combination of business, academic, nonprofit and government partnerships working together to initiate renewable energy, energy efficiency and pollution prevention efforts. “It is important that communities in our state that are affected by environmental violations receive tangible benefits from the settlement agreements themselves,” said Douglas H. Benevento, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “These projects are fine examples of that philosophy.” Projects selected to receive funding include: The Ranch Learning Center (Mesa County, CO), $210,000 – The Ranch Learning Center and Living Sustainability Lab Project will reduce the amount of carbon, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter released into the air and water by 15,500 and 40 tons, respectively. The project also is designed to create positive impacts on water and soil conservation by retrofitting Spring Creek Ranch to incorporate alternative energy sources and by constructing a laboratory and educational facility at Spring Creek Ranch. The stated goal is to reach 5,000 families over a three-year period. Sunsense, Inc. (Rio Blanco and Mesa Counties, CO), $115,000 – The Fairgrounds Resource Efficiency Demonstration Project will decrease carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate emissions in Rio Blanco and Mesa Counties by 19,957 and 26,129 pounds, respectively. This will be accomplished through solar electric, solar hot water, insulation and lighting upgrades to be performed at existing facilities at the Rio Blanco and Mesa County Fairgrounds. Biodiesel fuels also will be introduced. The Department of Public Health and Environment and other regulators have negotiated settlements in a variety of violation cases that include requirements for environmental projects to benefit affected Colorado communities. A portion of financial penalties agreed upon can be targeted at funding such projects, thereby benefiting the communities harmed by the violations. This round of grants result from settlements the Department of Public Health and Environment has negotiated with American Soda, and Kinder Morgan, over alleged air quality violations at facilities in Parachute and Rio Blanco County, respectively. The StEPP Foundation maintains a national database of environmental project ideas available for funding across the country and manages all project selection and oversight tasks on behalf of the parties involved. “We are thrilled that more and more businesses, governmental agencies, nonprofits and academia realize the benefits of supporting community projects that help achieve environmental goals,” said Ellen Drew, executive director of the StEPP Foundation. “The foundation is committed to serving communities for results-oriented projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency and pollution prevention. We hope to extend our involvement in similar projects in Colorado and around the nation.”