Breckenridge clean-energy campaign adds over 400 names to petition | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge clean-energy campaign adds over 400 names to petition

Summit Daily staff report
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Beth Groundwater (left) sits next to Emily Tracy (right) at a Breckenridge Town Council work session. The council discussed the next steps for Groundwater's proposal for the town to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.

Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe previously told a group seeking a town commitment to having all the buildings in Breckenridge, public and private, completely powered by renewable electricity by 2035 that there's still "a ways to go before we've heard from everyone."

Wolfe told this to the group at the council's Aug. 22 meeting after Beth Groundwater, chairwoman of the Breckenridge for 100 Percent Renewable Energy Campaign Committee, lobbied in support of two resolutions — one seeking to have all town facilities powered by renewable electricity by 2025 and another for the entire town by 2035.

The campaign and a town-created task force have been working on the resolutions almost side-by-side, and council passed the first before expressing its reluctance to commit to the larger 2035 goal, fearing what it could mean for local customers and not wanting to tie future council's hands.

Conversely, members of the campaign and task force maintain that without a shift in Xcel's power portfolio for the town of Breckenridge, there's no way to get to the 100 percent renewable electricity goal for the town as a whole, and they want the resolution to send a clear message to the utility.

In trying to get council to support the resolution for 2035, members of the campaign previously submitted a petition with almost 200 signatures from private individuals and another 88 representing local businesses.

At the time, Wolfe commended the group's effort but said there are 5,000 people in the community and not everyone had been heard.

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Not to be deterred, Groundwater returned before council on Tuesday with an updated list of signatures for the petition. This time, they had 634 individual signatures and another 118 from local businesses, Groundwater said, more than triple the original number.

"These petitions prove there's overwhelming support among town residents and businesses for you to negotiate with Xcel Energy to deliver renewable electricity to us in increasing percentages until we reach 100 percent by 2035," Groundwater told council during the public comments portion of the meeting. "There's no reason to think this negotiation won't succeed."

Groundwater notes the signatures they have so far represent about 13 percent of all Breckenridge voters, and she said four out of every five people they approached with the petition decided to sign on.

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