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Mark Schwantes, LPEA Manager of Corporate Services, 382.3511 or
Greg Caton, Durango Assistant City Manager, 375.5019

EPA honors Durango as a “Green Power Community”

Collective purchase of Green Power through LPEA ranks community #12 in the U.S.

DURANGO, Colo. – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the community of Durango as a “Green Power Community” for its collective commitment to purchase Green Power through La Plata Electric Association (LPEA). Durango ranks #12 in the United States, and is the only community in Colorado currently recognized.
EPA Green Power Communities are municipalities in which the local government, businesses and residents voluntarily purchase Green Power, or electricity generated from a renewable resource such as solar, wind, biomass or small hydro, in amounts that meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community requirements.

In 2009, Durango residents and businesses purchased in excess of 12,758,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of Green Power from LPEA, which accounts for 7.3 percent of all electricity consumed within the city. This more than qualified Durango, as the EPA’s standard for communities the size of Durango is 3 percent. According to EPA calculations (, Durango’s cumulative Green Power kilowatt hour purchase avoided carbon dioxide emissions of an estimated 9,362 metric tons, equivalent to the annual emissions from 1,790 passenger vehicles.

“This recognition shows that Durango is among a short list of communities from across the country that has made a significant contribution to minimize their impact on the environment,” said Greg Caton, Durango assistant city manager noting that the EPA has forwarded street signs announcing the recognition. “The City of Durango continues to purchase Green Power for the library, transit center and water and wastewater treatment plants, but to qualify as an EPA Green Power Community it has taken the commitment of individuals and businesses throughout Durango.”

LPEA offers Green Power for a monthly premium of 80 cents per 100 kWh block. The electric cooperative purchases Green Power, which is predominantly wind, from its power source provider Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Green Power funds also help finance local renewable generation projects and rebates for renewable generation installations on homes and businesses.
“This recognition is well deserved for the Durango community,” said Mark Schwantes, LPEA manager of corporate services. “This is the perfect complement to the on-going Climate Energy Action Plan and demonstrates the commitment of the residents of the City of Durango to ‘offset’ their electric usage with clean, renewable wind power from LPEA.”

Schwantes attributed LPEA’s successful Green Power program to early leadership from the City of Durango as well as local environmental organizations who urged LPEA and Tri-State to adopt ambitious goals for renewable energy. “But most importantly, our board and management’s support for the effort – and our members voluntary purchase of Green Power - has made all the difference,” he said. “We will be reviewing the Green Power purchased in all additional communities in our service territory (Bayfield, Ignacio, Pagosa Springs) and determine if they too meet the EPA’s requirements for recognition.”

EPA Green Power Communities are ranked in descending order by kilowatt hours of Green Power purchased. Those currently listed in the 1-11 spots are Corvallis, Ore.; Bellingham, Wash.; Santa Clara, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Beaverton, Ore.; Bend, Ore.; Gresham, Ore.; Lake Oswego, Ore.; Salem, Ore.; River Falls, Wis.; Lacey, Wash. As a percent of Green Power purchased, River Falls leads with 15 percent. Further information on the program is available at

LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its nearly 30,000 members with more than 40,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.  For further information or to sign-up for Green Power, visit

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Durango Area Tourism Office | 802 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301 | 970-247-3500