Fees could fuel green projects

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Average bills

• Residential

Now: $61.50

With proposed increase: $63.35

• Commercial

Now: $669.51

With proposed increase: $689.59

— City officials are eyeing a 2 percent gas bill increase that would provide the first dedicated funding source for sustainability projects in Steamboat Springs.

The proposal, which was passed at first reading by the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday, would raise the city's franchise fee with Atmos Energy from 3 percent to 5 percent. The last such increase was in 2002, when the franchise fee was increased from 1 percent to 3 percent.

"A franchise fee is a fee that utilities pay municipalities and counties for using public property for profit," Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said last week. "That's the only way they can do business is to use someone else's property."

Although the franchise fee is charged to Atmos Energy, officials with the city and the utility said it is passed on to Atmos customers.

"I can almost guarantee you they will pass it on to their customers," DuBord said.

If approved, Steamboat would become one of 13 Colorado communities that charge Atmos a 5 percent franchise fee. Twenty-six other communities charge 4 percent or less. While gas customers may oppose their bills going up 2 percent, Atmos officials are remaining neutral.

"We don't take a position either way," spokesman Kevin Kerrigan said Monday.

If approved after its second reading in two weeks, the franchise fee increase is expected to generate about $150,000 annually for the city's sustainability efforts. City planner Bob Keenan, who leads the city's "green team," said the money could be put to such uses as making city-owned buildings more energy efficient. Another possibility would be to purchase more hybrid vehicles, DuBord said.

"It's going to be a huge help," Keenan said last week. "It will certainly help us realize some of our larger sustainability ticket items. : I think that's a good use of that money because it's coming from energy use. I think it's a good fit."

Such efforts currently compete against other pressing needs for money from the city's general fund. Keenan said it is a challenge to compete against public infrastructure projects and other essential services.

"It's been real difficult," Keenan said. "There's other priorities."

Comments

SilverSpoon 6 years, 9 months ago

"Another possibility would be to purchase more hybrid vehicles"

Are the new patrol cars hybrid? Do they have the new hybrid bus yet?

just wondering what their current hybrid fleet is, and how many MORE they are getting. $4.00/gallon even hurts the bottomless pockets of the city.

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

In addition to Silver's questions I would like to add,

Have all city building been retrofit with the newer low energy flourecents light fixtures?

Has anyone looked inot the cost of installing solar panels on all city owned properties?

Energy usage and costs are climbing. We need to be in the forefront of efforts to use more energy eficient methods. It is a claim we can tout as our more green approach to being a world class ski town.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 9 months ago

screw this, our energy bills are high enough as it is, and the recent upsurge in nat gas has not been factored in this past season, making those averages low. the city could save more than 150K by eliminating the 2 nepotistic and redundant jobs they just created for a certain Ms Howell and Ms Engelken. nope just screw the taxpayer, as usual.

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 9 months ago

Use aspen as a case study. Mr Udall is proud of his tax on huge energy consumers(excessively large homes, heated driveways, and heated pools). Single out the big consumers, and turn that $150,000 into $1.5 million. We want to be like aspen, don't we?

Anyway, the city tax is passed directly to consumers; same with electric as well, in the summer, of my $40/month electric bill, half of it was service fees and taxes. Same with natural gas, in the winter, your gas usage is large enough so you don't notice the additional fees and taxes, but in the summer, $10-15 in service fees and taxes.

I think YVEA is opting out of ammendment 37 http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/clean_energy_policies/the-colorado-renewable-energy-standard-ballot-initiative.html

Make YVEA put solar panels on steamboat roofs, ski area roofs.

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 9 months ago

bore, Please post new info, your challenge, and your peer reviewed reports are wrong. They are new reports with old data. Just because they update the publish date, doesn't make it current.

Also, "peer reviewed", depends on who your peers are. Hitler's peers supported the holocaust. Rush limbaughs peers are high school and college dropouts who are alcoholics and prescription drug addicts. If your peers are Chevron and Shell, bunk environmental reports will have their complete support.

Conservatives will keep agreeing with themselves, and offer no real scientific method to support their science. And science is independent of economics, sometimes it is worth the "extra money" so that people in denver don't have to suffer asthma from the air pollution we cause here in the yampa valley.

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 9 months ago

ctrl+C ctrl+V

Your responses and challenges are as cookie cutter as it gets. If i had a nickel for every time i saw them.....

I think mr stoddard has battled with you round and round, time and time again. Lets cut through the work cited(references). Bottom line, is that we will leave cleaning up the mess caused by the baby boomer's prosperity(excessive pollution and glutany) to our kids, and hope that they can 'text' their way out of the mess. Conservative folks seem to think there is a undiscoverd technology out there, but the fact is, we are just using existing technology better. We are also using technology poorly, like oil shale, and coal fired power plants and an archaic power grid.

<p>heritage.org will refute all of my blog:)

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

You two?!?

Question: Is renewable energy a science/technology that will benefit mankind in general?

Yes or No?

I will assume you thought yes.

Is it worth investing in the research and implementation of renewable energy sources?

i.e. Windfarms, Solar Farms,(yes and photovoltaic cell technology) Electric and Hybrid vehicles. New technologies in the use of energy in our homes and work places. New lighting technologies, new home building materials, new water heater tech, new A/C & heating tech...

More effecient technology will be a good thing, right?

The planet will warm. Whether from solar cycle or man doesn't seem to matter how. It will cool too. My favorite theory is of how the melting icecap will cool the Pacific ocean enough to stop the convection of heat occuring in it currents, triggering a new iceage.

Global Warming leads to next Iceage!

The Earth is dynamic. The Solar System is dynamic. The cosmos is dynamic. We are lucky to be here in the first place.

If we intend to survive as a race we need to excell in the technologies. We need to become cleaner in our energy production and usage.

I don't fault your debating. In fact I applaud it. I just seem to find the same debate occuring in every thread.

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justathought 6 years, 9 months ago

government has found it's way around tabor, don't tax 'em, fee 'em.

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Token 6 years, 9 months ago

hdn bore...ok you are right..now move on..

this is about energy, resources and money. we should do this without any regard to global warming...

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ybul 6 years, 9 months ago

I think YVEA is opting out of ammendment 37.

you spoke of putting solar panels on all the roofs. A better plan and one taken by Platt River Power Authority is to subsidize hydronic geothermal power. Natural gas has an efficiency rating of 85ish%, Electric is 100% minus the transmission loss, and hydronic geothermal is 200+% efficient in terms of energy usage, as it has a gain from the ultimate solar collector.

All new construction should be equipped with this technology, as it has a 4-9 year payback without subsidies.

As far as looking at global warming, I am a skeptic, however, one should internalize the costs of coal based power production, which has a hidden tax upon all of us, of mercury and other toxic emissions.

This hidden tax is being imposed upon all of us again in frac drilling by natural gas companies. They are exempted from EPA guidelines per the 2005 energy bill, I can't sue when they pollute my water supply.

The benefits of actually adding the surcharge go beyond sustainability. They hopefully will reduce energy consumption, lowering your long term power bills.

I probably will not reply as I do not have the time to waste.

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

Geo thermal is an excellent choice for power. It is one of many possibilities that evaded me earlier.

sbvor, OK, alright I get it. Its a vast all encompassing conspiracy to dupe us all into buying expensive oil or whatever.

I am not arguing that point. H&ll, I happen to agree.

But once in a while I would like to hold a discussion without it coming back to you favorite subject.

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andymanout 6 years, 9 months ago

I believe Greenland is a country that has harnessed geothermal on a large scale. Their are many technologies to consider but,

Isn't this thread about another increase to our gas bills?

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

sbvor, Yes this could tie into your assertion. I am sure you can find a tie in on most energy or government threads. Every thread?

I have to go out now. I will check in later.

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

As to the Solar cell technology Newer and cheaper methods of production are coming. Here is a clip from a newsletter I get.

A Massachusetts company has announced that it has successfully conducted the first-ever demonstration of manufacturing solar cells by inkjet printing. The company, Konarka Technologies Inc. , called the demonstration a "milestone" and an "essential breakthrough in the field of printed solar cells." Inkjet printing is a commonly used technique primarily used to make flexible electronic circuits. According to Konarka officials, by using the process in the development of solar cells, the need for 'clean rooms' and costly silicon is eliminated, and manufacturers can work with a number of different substrates, including plastics, and assorted colors. "Demonstrating the use of inkjet printing technology as a fabrication tool for highly efficient solar cells and sensors with small area requirements is a major milestone," commented Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

I hadn't seriously considered the radiant heat part of that equation previously. I suspect it will have a minimal effect in that the technology will lend itself to application on existing structures.

I don't have enough info on the actual materials ability to reflect or capture heat & light to know how it could change any of the average qty's.

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

sbvor,

I have seen how Milankovitch determined the cycles and I rate the theory highly as to its believability. That being the case and as I have heard you state before, warming of the planet is a good thing. I tend to agree.

If the radiant energy striking the walls and roofs of man made structures were to be absorbed, in effect not reflected back through the atmosphere into space, I wonder how much heat would actually be lost?

Isn't a great deal of that energy currently absorbed and radiate back into the lower atmosphere in the form of heat? Hear is where I need more information on the performance of the solar cell materials.

My major concerns environmentally speaking are the pollution of ecosystems. I think of the earths ecosystem as a sponge. The living ocean kind. As long as the clean current flows life is good. Add to much of one thing or another and change the environment forever. Perhaps with the pollutants we now emit, we are changing the environment. I won't say catastrophically yet, just changing it. Today and tomorrow. weeks, years, decades,... We are coming to the end of the first century of world wide large scale automobile use. You could argue that this is the first century of the Industrial Age or 100IA. I have seen Paris, Munich, Los Angeles, Kansas City and many other major metropolitan areas during warm high auto use days. I am sure you have too. I get concerned when I can see pollution in the air. I wonder whats in the air that I can not see?

I advocate any technology that will decrease the amount of pollutants produced. I like clean air, water and dirt.

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't get me started on the orbital junkyard we are building,

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424now 6 years, 9 months ago

We will need more information on the heat capturing or reflecting behavior of solar cell technology before we can reasonably state its impact on heat island effects of major structures and in major developments.

My Ideas for solar cell tech is not to cover open spaces but buildings. The advantage there is that they are already tied into an electrical grid. The cells will be able to easily tie into the grid also and supplement that same grid. I am thinking along the sunside walls and roofs.

If they do in fact absorb sunlight completely without radiating any heat comparible to the existing structure then yes we could have an issue worthy of discussion.

DDT is done and so be it. The global warming is occuring. I can't honestly dispute that. I agree though we can't really prove we are causing it. We can't even prove if the cycle we are on now is an iminent catastrophee in the making.

My reason for advocating new energy technologies is not the global warming. Its the microenvironments that we all participate in. Sewage, Oil and Chemical spills anger me beyond rational thought. Nuclear power plants generating a byproduct that can't be disposed of unnerves me.

Simply put I like clean Air Water and dirt.

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