Public learns about renewable energy during ‘energy week’

Public learns about renewable energy during ‘energy week’

Living is becoming more expensive and energy costs are no exception. To help people tackle this challenge, Delta-Montrose Electric Association is plugging into renewable energy during ”Energy Week” with numerous informational events running through Friday, Oct. 13.

Thursday kicked off the week with an all day ”learn how to plug into Colorado’s sun and wind” at DMEA. Several speakers discussed different topics on solar and wind energy. Jim Heneghan, DMEA energy services supervisor, spoke on several of those topics including solar energy and design when building a new facility or home and solar hot water.

According to Heneghan, solar hot water is more economical and provides tax credits. It’s becoming more competitive in the market and is fitting into more and more homes.

Other speakers discussed economics and productivity of wind farms, pointing out how technology in wind turbines has been changing. Others talked about more renewable energy opportunities and briefly on tax credits and other financial incentives.

”Today will link to next week,” Tom Polikalas, DMEA spokesperson said. He said DMEA was pleased with the turnout, having nearly a hundred chairs full most of the day.

Polikalas said events will take place almost every day, providing information for homeowners and commercial businesses.

Today from 3 to 5 p.m., architects, contractors, lenders, Realtors, policy makers and other interested persons are invited to discuss the advantages of building and marketing more energy efficient homes and facilities.

On Saturday people can travel to the North Fork Valley for a solar home tour. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by calling 527-5307. Tour participants will visit four homes in the Paonia area and four in Hotchkiss area. There, they will see adobe and straw-bail constructions as well as solar electric and solar hot water systems.

Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., there will be a biodiesel/biofuels seminar. It’s geared toward vehicle fleet operators and policy makers interested in using these products and other renewable energy.

Phil Zimmer, DMEA’s supervisor of energy use, said Tuesday also provides important information for the community and homeowners. ”Home Energy Savings 101” will give low-costs and no-cost tips to help save energy in the home. He said there will be a ”ladder” of opportunities discussed from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and again in Paonia’s library Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., government officials, school members and other professions can attend a workshop that will explain the renewable energy and cost savings for their profession. For registration details contact Kourtnie Harris at 303-866-2401 or

Friday, Oct. 13 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. is when all the information dispensed during the week will come together when the United States Department of Agriculture presents the ”value-added producer grant program” and ”renewable energy/energy efficiency grant program.”

The value-added program is for agricultural producers and farm-based renewable energy. The efficiency grant can fund 25 percent of cost renewable energy projects or the cost of energy efficiency projects for rural businesses.

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