Budget shortfall forces Durango to axe green energy credits

The Durango City Council is taking heat for its recent decision to pull the plug on the Southwest Colorado town’s annual $45,000 subsidy of green energy blocks provided by the local electrical coop – a move necessitated by a $500,000 budget shortfall for 2009.

The Durango Herald last week reported green energy blocks — produced from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar — cost about 80 cents more per 100 kilowatt hour than traditional electrical sources such as coal-fired power plants.

The city, in its efforts to combat global climate change, each year purchased about one-third of the green energy blocks sold each year by La Plata Electric Association (LPEA), translating to approximately $45,000 more a year than the cost of traditional energy sources.

“For Durango to bail out, it means LPEA is going to be scrambling.But they’re still burning coal for their power, and if the city is truly going to be a leader on climate change, they need to walk the talk and figure how to burn clean energy for the electricity they use,” Mark Pearson, director of the San Juan Citizens’ Alliance, told the Herald.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.

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