If you care about clean energy and think utilities are boring, think again. Utilities play a key role in the fight against climate change. As much as 70 percent of Pitkin County’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the energy used in homes and businesses. And at present, 58 percent of the energy provided by the valley’s largest electric utility — Holy Cross Energy — comes from coal. That’s why a utility’s decisions around clean energy and energy efficiency matter.
Luckily, there’s a direct line to influence those decisions in your mailbox. All Holy Cross Energy customers have received a ballot for the annual Board of Directors election. This group of seven shapes the policies and influences the direction of the utility, from hiring a new CEO last year (welcome, Bryan Hannegan!) to overseeing renewable energy and energy efficiency incentive programs to ensuring reliable and affordable power.
Holy Cross is a rural electric cooperative; it’s their customers instead of shareholders that have a say in running the company. This unique way of doing things means that customers and community values are front and center, not profits. One of the main ways the utility learns what’s important to its customers is through the Board elections. If you want clean and cheap power, and energy efficiency programs, vote for green candidates.
CORE values clean air, a stable climate, and a sustainable economy, so we support the candidates that share those values. “A climate-forward board could spur even greater climate and energy strides for the already innovative utility,” says CORE’s executive director, Mona Newton. This election has long-lasting impacts for clean energy and progressive climate action.
Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company’s vice president of sustainability, agrees. He believes this is one of the highest impact solutions: “Opportunities to make a meaningful difference on climate, at big scale, are rare. Getting your local utility to 100% clean power is one, and two candidates in particular, Adam and Kristen, have been making this happen and deserve your vote” says Auden. This is one of the easiest ways to take action.
Of the 55,000 Holy Cross customers, less than 2,000 turned in ballots in the last election. That turnout rate means you can have outsized influence in the outcome. And it just takes minutes: check the boxes, put your ballot in the pre-paid envelope and drop it in the mail. Voting in the Holy Cross Energy election is one of the easiest ways you can take a stand. As Holy Cross’ slogan reminds us, “the power is in your hands.”