The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) recently awarded through its Division of Local Government (DLG) $7.14 million in Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Funds (EIAF) for renewable energy and broadband projects across the state.
Funding from the EIAF program is ongoing to help areas socially or economically affected by the development, processing or energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels. EIAF awards help achieve Governor Jared Polis’ Four Bold Goals for renewable energy, education, health and economic development, while also meeting needs vocalized by rural communities.
“An important aspect of this program is to support communities feeling the impacts of the transition from coal,” said DOLA Executive Director Rick Garcia. “We are excited about the ‘Just Transitions Action Plan’ meeting those needs.”
DOLA awarded Steamboat Springs $2.1 million for the installation of solar panels at 13 local government facilities across that city, Craig, Hayden, Oak Creek, Yampa, and Moffat and Routt Counties. Eight of these projects account for more than 1.8 MW of capacity using ground-mount arrays while the remaining five are rooftop-mounted systems.
The Department awarded the City of Craig $2 million in planning and implementation funds for a project adjacent to the Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA). Construction of a community solar garden will allow regional partners to purchase their power subscription from a third party solar project developer under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
DOLA awarded the Town of Hudson $731,000 for engineering and construction of an open-access, middle-mile fiber project for three regions within the Town. It covers the core fiber loop, the main area of town and the businesses and residential neighborhoods west of I-76. The project involves a public-private telecommunications partnership with a provider that will construct the last mile of fiber to its users and assist the Town in management of its network.
In 2020, Local Affairs awarded a total of $47.2 million through EIAF for 137 projects in communities across Colorado. DOLA awarded six Councils of Government $289,000, 22 Renewable and Clean Energy Initiative projects $13 million, and $5.6 million to implement access to broadband for twelve middle-mile infrastructure projects around the state.
“Each EIAF award is a crucial step toward meeting the state’s goals for sustainability,” Garcia added.