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Top 10 Local News Stories of 2018: No. 7 - Longmont Adopts 100 Percent Renewable-energy Goal

December 25, 2018
Solar panels are seen on the roof of Karen Dike's house in Longmont in October 2017. Longmont in 2018 joined dozens of other U.S. cities and towns in January when the City Council established a citywide goal of "consuming only electricity generated by means of carbon-free generated methods" by the year 2030.

Top 10 local news stories of 2018

Through Dec.31, the Times-Call will count down the top stories of the year, as selected by the newspaper’s editors.

10. Longmont high school teams post successful post-seasons

9. Longmont allows recreational marijuana shops

8. Police officers cleared in shooting death of Gillie Thurby III

7. City commits to renewable energy by 2030

Longmont in 2018 joined dozens of other U.S. cities and towns in January when the City Council established a citywide goal of “consuming only electricity generated by means of carbon-free generated methods” by the year 2030.

That measure, approved on a 5-1 Jan. 9 council vote, also set a commitment to have at least 50 percent of Longmont residents’ and businesses’ electricity generated from such renewable-energy sources as wind and solar by the year 2030.

Organizations participating in a “Ready for 100” campaign, including Sustainable Resilient Longmont and the Sierra Club, had lobbied the council to commit to a 100 percent clean-energy policy that already had been adopted at that point by such communities as Boulder, Nederland, Lafayette, Pueblo, Breckenridge and Aspen.

“This is a watershed moment not only for Longmont, but for the broader movement to combat climate change,” Ready for 100 campaign leader Karen Dike, a Longmont resident, said in a statement after the council vote.

“I’m proud of the grassroots movement that we’ve built over the past year, empowering the people of Longmont to have a voice in what we want the future of Longmont to look like,” Dike said.

The Longmont council’s January vote followed a Dec. 5, 2017, proclamation by Mayor Brian Bagley declaring his commitment to work with the Platte River Power Authority toward achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

The Platte River Power Authority is the wholesale energy provider for the municipal utilities of Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and Estes Park. Bagley, in his capacity as mayor, serves on the Power Authority board.

Bagley said at the Jan. 9 Longmont council meeting that “we’re not going to 100 percent renewables overnight” but that he regarded pursuing the goal as a way to provide “reliable, affordable, responsible power.”

Earlier this month, Platte River Power Authority board members voted unanimously to approve a policy that calls for Platte River to pursue a 100 percent non-carbon energy portfolio by the year 2030 — although the document includes a number of caveats.

The PRPA policy notes, for example, that battery storage performance must mature and the costs must decline, that transmission and distribution infrastructure investment must be increased, and that transmission and distribution delivery systems must be more fully integrated.

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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