Longmont becomes 7th Colorado city to aim for all renewable energy

Author: Joey Bunch - January 11, 2018 - Updated: January 11, 2018

renewableIn this January 2011 photo, solar panels are placed on three roofs atop the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library in Pueblo. (Photo by John Jaques/The Pueblo Chieftain via AP)

This week Longmont became the seventh Colorado city to pledge to work toward getting all its energy from sustainable, renewable sources.

This week the City Council approved a resolution to get off fossil fuels by 2030, part of Colorado Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, partnering locally with Sustainable Resilient Longmont.

John Fryar of the Longmont Times Call was the first to report the news.

“The longer that we depend on old and dirty energy, the more we put our neighbors at risk for asthma and our neighborhoods at risk for climate caused wildfires and floods,” said state Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat from Loveland. “One hundred percent renewable energy by 2030 is achievable and affordable. It’s time we make it inevitable.

As part of their campaigns for governor, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder and former sate Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver have pledged to move the state to all-renewable by 2040. Critics say that’s too expensive and unrealistic, while disrepecting and endangering the state’s oil-and-gas industry the same way coal from the Western Slope was hamstrung by environmental pushes to replace coal-fired power plants in the state.

The Sierra Club said the resolution builds off on Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley’s Dec. 5 proclamation focusing on moving the city to renewable sources of energy. Bagley called the council resolution approved Tuesday night a step forward in the right direction.

Longmont, of course, is in the heart of fracking country, where some public sentiments run deep and not on oil and natural gas. It’s not a surprise, then, that four of Colorado seven cities on the list are in Boulder County. Longmont joins Boulder, Nederland and Lafayette. The others are Pueblo, Breckenridge and Aspen.

Longmont became the 55th city nationally to set the goal.

Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner, in a statement released by the Sierra County, said it was proof of momentum for clean energy as “both economically feasible on a local level and widely supported by Coloradans.”

Jim Alexee, director of the Colorado Sierra Club, thanked Begley and the Longmont City Council.

Alexee said in a statement, “As one of the most fracked regions in the nation, it’s exciting to see Longmont made the decision to invest in our health and climate.”

Ready for 100 campaign leader Karen Dike called it a watershed moment.

“Now, more than ever, action at the local level is crucial to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy future,” added Longmont Board chair Abby Driscoll called it a watershed moment.

The Times Call reported that local resident Terri Goon was concerned about whether the move would drive up electric utility prices for Longmont Power and Communications’ customers, and what that might mean to those living on fixed incomes.

“I’d like to keep Longmont affordable,” Goon said.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.