We can all celebrate FoCo’s transition to renewable electricity – The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Colorado State University continues to enhance its commitment to sustainability by installing solar panels across campus to help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. (Laurel Sickels | The College Boy)

Editor’s Note: All content in the opinion section reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a position taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

As many cities across the country, Fort Collins is committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity In the years to come. This commitment ultimately determines Colorado State University’s own goals, since the university gets about 85% of its electricity from the city, according to Stacey Baumgarn, CSU’s campus energy coordinator.

Rather than working on this behind the scenes where many residents can’t even tell it’s happening, Fort Collins should mark its transition to renewable electricity as an important part of the city’s character. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, our decision to phase out fossil fuels should be a source of pride for all who inhabit this place.

Decarbonizing our electricity is an important part of our overall response to climate change, and it is happening right now. “

“Sustainability is an obligation to the future,” said Baumgarn. It is a deliberate choice in the present to do things in a way that does not compromise opportunities for future generations. Making sustainable choices now demonstrates our loyalty and consideration for those who will come after us.

Isn’t that something you want to shout from the rooftops? Doesn’t that sound like something we would all be excited and proud to practice? Well, it sure happens, but wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate it explicitly?

Perhaps the city’s renewable electricity transition is difficult to celebrate right now because it isn’t exactly visible to most people. So far, the transition only seems to happen in board meetings and actual power plants. Speaking with Baumgarn, I understood that this process is just as bureaucratic and awkward as it is historically important.

Fort Collins receives electricity from the utility company Platte River Electric Authority. Authority, which aims to 100% carbon-free energy by 2030, is jointly owned by its member cities and municipalities, which include Fort Collins, Estes Park, Longmont and Loveland.

Public authority is important, Baumgarn said. “No one is competing – we are all working towards a common goal,” he said.

CSU cooperates with Fort Collins, the city cooperates with other members of the authority and they all share the goal of achieving renewable electricity production within the decade.

Easily accessible artifacts – perhaps even working demonstrations – of solar or wind technology could spark wonder and pride in all who see them, especially young engineers of the future.

It’s great, and according to Baumgarn, “a lot of conversations and collaborations are taking place. But all this always gives the impression that it is happening elsewhere. Unless you work in a power plant or in an authority office, how can you notice and be proud of this transition?

A suggestion: Celebrate whenever we hit certain benchmarks or after a year of increasing renewable electricity capacity. Imagine a festival or a half day of class where we all spend time outdoors for a collective, “Hey! We are doing it ! “

Imagine if Fort Collins built public displays of renewable infrastructure in the Old Town or in city parks. Easily accessible artifacts – perhaps even working demonstrations – of solar or wind technology could spark wonder and pride in all who see them, especially young engineers of the future.

According to Baumgarn, CSU currently has at least 20 new solar panels under construction that will be installed on campus in the near future. We could have the CSU Marching Band play when everyone is set up, CAM the Ram breaking it down to the beat while President Joyce McConnell talks freely about renewables.

Fantasies aside, we should be thrilled and proud of this region’s renewable transition because of the historic significance of this transition. Electricity production represents 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Decarbonizing our electricity is an important part of our overall response to climate change, and it is happening right now.

Fort Collins deserves to feel special about its commitment to renewable electricity. Such a commitment shows that our community cares deeply about its own future as well as that of the planet as a whole. Additionally, to echo Baumgarn, this reflects a tendency to favor cooperation and collaboration over competition.

“Sustainability is an obligation to the future,” said Baumgarn. Learning to celebrate our City’s obligation to its future would give us all more reasons to smile and strengthen our collective ties with this gem of a place.

Cody Cooke can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ CodyCooke17.



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