These days, most people understand the importance of shopping locally to support our economy and keep dollars close to home. But, what about buying local energy? The same concept applies. Local First is a non-profit alliance of locally-owned, independent businesses and organizations working together to build an economy that values people, the planet, and prosperity for everyone. As such, we advocate for keeping energy dollars re-circulating locally to create jobs, support the local energy industry, and maintain our quality of life.
A prime example of economic prosperity that is leaving our community is found in our local not-for-profit electrical distribution and public power cooperative, the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA). LPEA relies on Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association for power along with 43 other members across Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. Currently, our energy comes from LPEA, which is part of a larger energy co-op called Tri-State. LPEA is required to purchase 95% of our electricity from Tri-State until 2050 because of a long-term contract that was renewed with Tri-State. Tri-State’s energy is over 60% coal produced, making them the 2nd worst climate emitting electricity producer in the country.
If we could produce just 10% of our power locally that would keep $7 million a year here locally to circulate in our community.