Utility district to expand green programs | SierraSun.com

Utility district to expand green programs

Truckee’s utility district is moving forward with conservation efforts spurred in late 2006 when ratepayers voiced concern over a 50-year coal-power contract the district opted not to enter.

At the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board meeting Wednesday evening, staff presentations regarding past and future conservation programs were progressive and valuable, said Dan Warren, general manager of the Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association, and frequent meeting attendee.

“I think since the coal debate, the utility district has made some very intelligent and prudent moves, particularly in regards to securing contracts with geothermal power,” Warren said, referring to the district’s recent decision to purchase approximately .38 megawatts of power from the Geysers geothermal field in Northern California.

Among the programs being implemented in 2008, Warren said he considers the water landscape conservation program and workshop most significant to Truckee residents.

According to Scott Terrell, the district’s conservation specialist, the goal of the program is to educate district customers on ways to reduce water consumption, particularly regarding wasteful landscape projects.

“The district’s water consumption and demand almost triples in the summer, and the only real difference is in watering plants,” Terrell said. “We’ve done workshops and worked with local nurseries, but we’re really going to expand that effort from workshops in the fall to year round programs for promoting water conservation.”

Terrell said he partly attributes heightened efforts to the formation of the conservation committee, which was instituted in the maelstrom that ensued after last year’s coal debate.

“Robert Mowris and the conservation committee have put together really good ideas for 2008 programs,” Terrell said. “We share a vision of making Truckee the smallest green town in America by 2010.”

Committee Chairman Doug Grandy said he is also pleased with the board’s initiative and acceptance of developing conservation efforts.

“The fact that the committee exists is a progressive move on the part of the board,” Grandy said. “The 2008 conservation budget is a really good ramp up to where we [the committee] think the district needs to be.”

Additionally, Grandy said the district’s new general manager ” Michael Holley ” has already supplemented conservation efforts through ideas and support.

“He is going to be a key part of the success of this program,” Grandy said. “He’s very open-minded and is looking to heal the wounds that are still stabbed and oozing from the coal debate within the community.”

Grandy said while that may take time, Holley will be “an important catalyst for the healing process.”

The district also made a commitment to save one megawatt of power this year, said board director Ron Hemig.

“I want to make sure the limited dollars we can spend on conservation are spent with the greatest bang for the buck,” Hemig said. “I think the board is clearly following the directive that it got from ratepayers to find new ways to conserve and reduce our carbon imprint.”

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