Aspen, Vail electric co-op ‘flips’ to majority green board members

The board of directors of Holy Cross Energy (pdf), a rural electric cooperative with more than 40,000 members between Vail and Aspen, has officially “flipped” from old-school conventional-energy conservatives to a majority of progressive directors favoring a greater mix of renewable energy.

Green candidate David Munk defeated incumbent Robert Starodoj 2,115 votes to 1,292 in the co-op’s Southern District, and incumbent Michael Glass – a moderate, green-leaning Vail banker – turned back two challengers in the Northern District. Glass got 1,683 votes to 1,179 for environmental engineer Erik Lundquist and 589 for retired telecommunications CEO Bill Maxwell. Four of the seven co-op board members now could be considered progressive.

However, the board president is still Carbondale rancher Tom Turnbull, who gets some credit for nudging Holy Cross down the “New Energy Economy” road but also is criticized by environmentalists for the co-op’s $100 million investment in the Comanche 3 coal-fired power plant, for some of his comments on climate change and for his support of incumbents in the most recent board election.

In what some observers say was a blatant bid to dilute the “Aspen-ization” of the board, Holy Cross asked members if they favored a bylaw change to make voting in-district only instead of across the entire service area. The very vocally environmental Aspen Skiing Company has backed several green candidates in recent elections.

Members voted 1,849 to 1,709 not to recommend a bylaw change.

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