LPEA Board Opts for 'Hybrid' Power Supply Model

2/22/2022

Now that the La Plata Electric Association Board of Directors has opted for a hybrid power supply model, what happens next? Dale Garland, long-time Student Council advisor at Durango High School retires this year. Find out who will succeed him. And nearly 500 housing units have been approved by the City of Durango. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Closets Plus

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Now that the La Plata Electric Association has decided to seek a hybrid power supply, what's next? Longtime Durango High School Student Council advisor Dale Garland retires at the end of the year. And the city council approved three new housing projects this month. You're watching the Local News Roundup brought to you by ServiceMaster Restore and Closets Plus. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. The La Plata Electric Association Board of Directors passed a resolution at its February meeting that authorizes staff to negotiate and finalize power supply contracts with the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Crossover Energy Partners. The hybrid power apply model emerged as the preferred alternative out of three options to reduce the co-ops carbon footprint, while keeping utility bills relatively low. During the past three years, LPEA has explored several pathways towards reducing its carbon footprint, including a full departure from the Tri-State Generation and Transmission cooperative, a partially exit or negotiating a new contract with Tri-State that would give La Plata Electric more flexibility to meet local needs. Tri-State supplies electrical power to 45 member cooperatives and public power districts throughout the west. La Plata Electric now has a long-term contract to buy 95% of its power from Tri-State. But Tri-State generates 70% of its energy from coal-fired power plants. Although contract details haven't been finalized, the collaboration will allow La Plata Electric to purchase 50% of its power from crossover energy partners and the other from Tri-State, while still taking advantage of Tri-State's transmission network. La Plata Electric expects an average savings of $7 million a year and immediate 50% reduction in the co-ops carbon footprint and in extra $1 million in education grant funds for the local community. In the meantime, La Plata Electric still must negotiate a buydown payment for partially exiting its Tri-State contract, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will have to approve it. The LPEA board still must decide on how it will pass on anticipated cost savings to users. Among the options, rate decreases, delay in future increases, increase retirement of capital credits to members or investment in infrastructure to improve liability. To follow developments, visit lpea.coop. A Durango High School graduate has been named as the new Durango High School student leadership advisor. Michelle Flom will take over the position from longtime advisor Dale Garland who retires this year. Garland, who is Dean of Students, has served as advisor to the Durango Student Council since 1996. Under his guidance, Student Council members have obtained the National Association of Student Council's Gold Council of Excellence recognition for 10 years in a row. Flom, a 2001 graduate of Durango High School, joined Durango School District 9-R in 2017 as a math teacher at Big Picture High School. Since 2020, she's been teaching math in Durango High School's Elevation Academy, an in-school alternative education program. To learn more about Durango High School's student leadership program, visit dhs.durangoschools.org. The Durango City Council approved three new housing developments that could result in nearly 500 new units in the future. The council approved an application to build 141 studio apartments at the Durango Downtown Inn at Ninth Street and Camino Del Rio, an application to build 211 units in Three Springs and an application to build 120 units in the Best Western Inn and Suites on US Highway 160 West. The council also approved the sale of the Best Western property to TWG development, a multifamily and affordable housing developer based in Indianapolis. TWG intends to convert 71 hotel units and add 49 more to the site for studio, one and two bedroom apartments that will be available to renters who earn less than 60% of the area's median income. Rents will range from 408 to 1,100 dollars a month. TWG will obtain low interest financing from the federal division of housing and the Colorado Housing Finance Authority. To watch recordings of city council meetings, visit durangogov.org. Where or where should the little tow go? The little rope tow at Chapman Hill that is. The Durango Parks and Recreation Department plans to replace the little tow at Chapman Hill in time for the 2023 ski season. But before it moves forward, it wants to make sure that users still agree with recommendations identified in the 2018 Chapman Hill Master Plan. The Master Plan recommends that the little tow, used mostly by beginner skiers, be converted to a magic carpet and be moved closer to the ice rink to open up the slope. To comment, send an email to rec@durangogov.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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