I am John Arnold and I’m writing to ask for your vote for the San Miguel Power Association District 4 director seat.
Let me first address the Tri-State contract. We received petitions reading that members of SMPA “request that … the SMPA Board of Directors explore the use of renewable energy resources and energy-efficiency measures to limit the need for new generation. We further ask our representatives … to not sign the extension to the wholesale power purchase agreement with Tri-State Generation and Transmission.”
The board didn’t vote to sign the contract until Tri-State agreed to purchase a minimum of 50 MW of renewable energy, which they later increased to 100 MW. (One megawatt typically supplies 1,370 homes with electrical energy for one month.) The signing of the contract will help keep rates lower and allow Tri-State to build transmission lines to stranded renewable wind resources being developed in eastern Colorado.
Tri-State has made significant steps toward renewable energy: They entered into a partnership in a proposed 500 MW concentrating solar-power project in New Mexico. Tri-State is also a founding member of the newly formed National Renewable Cooperative Organization, which focuses on development of renewable energy by co-ops.
I’ve asked Tri-State about the feasibility of a concentrating solar plant in the Nucla area, close to the power plant and transmission lines that are there. I believe staying at the table with Tri-State achieved what our members really wanted: access to more renewable energy.
I am the SMPA director on the Colorado Rural Electrical Association Board. We worked closely with Senator Jim Isgar to bring HB 1160 into law last March 26. The bill sets guidelines for residential customers who generate up to 10 kw and commercial or industrial customers who generate up to 25 kw from eligible energy resources. The bill requires that electric cooperatives and municipally owned utilities credit a customer’s excess generation one-to-one against the customer’s consumption. This will encourage development of renewable energy, especially solar, for schools and homes.
I endorsed funding by SMPA for the Telluride Community Coalition for Sustainability and also participate in the SMPA green power program. I’m the only board member to have received Board Leadership Certification after becoming a credentialed director. Board meetings are always open to everyone with a public comment period at the opening of meetings. I can be reached by phone or email for comments.
I’m a believer that through efficiency and renewable energy, we can cut the demand for base-load generation, but I’m not sure it will be enough to curtail more natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants.
Keep experience, knowledge and common sense on the SMPA board: Vote John Arnold for District 4 director when you receive your ballot this week.
– John Arnold