Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Co-op Innovation, Ingenuity Caught on Tape

By Kent Singer, CREA Executive Director - 

In Last November’s column, I mentioned that one of the highlights of CREA’s 2014 Energy Innovations Summit was the premier of a video that we produced here at the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Titled “Colorado’s Electric Co-ops: Energy and Innovation,” the video features many of the exciting projects that our state’s co-ops developed over the last few years including our collective deployment of renewable power projects, energy efficiency programs and advanced metering technology.
We showed the video for the first time to all of the Summit attendees and, to my surprise, the 250 or so attendees applauded loudly at the end; clearly, a lot of our members are proud of the efforts their co-ops are making to diversify their power supply mix with renewables, help their member-owners with energy efficiency and improve the reliability of their service with advanced metering. The video demonstrates that Colorado’s electric co-ops are at the forefront of new technology and that we are responsive to the wishes of our member-owners.
We worked on the production of the video for about a year, and that included the work of a videographer who went out to co-op service territories and documented the great work achieved by CREA’s members. All of the electric co-ops in Colorado are involved with new technology to help serve their member-owners, and one of the challenges in producing the video was selecting only a few of those projects for the final product.
The innovation displayed by our members in the video is truly amazing, and I am writing about it in hopes that you will give it a watch. You can find the video on YouTube at YouTube.com/ COCountryLife1. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see we posted two versions: the original 8-minute version (bit.ly/1w494qm) and a shorter 4-minute version (bit.ly/1AlDstL) that focuses on co-op renewable energy projects. Both versions give you a sampling of the incredible work accomplished in Colorado co-op territories to meet the challenges of the evolving energy paradigm.
I would like to thank a number of people for making the “Energy and Innovation” video a reality. Mona Neeley, publisher/editor of Colorado Country Life, was instrumental in developing the creative concept, assimilating several of the still photos used in the video, and helping edit the narrative language. Stefan Brodsky, our videographer, spent several days on the road meeting with Colorado co-op employees and shooting footage of their projects and service territories. Jim Van Someren, our creative consultant, provided a huge assist in refining our message and keeping the project moving forward.
Most importantly, I want to thank all of the folks at Colorado’s electric co-ops who helped us with the video, including those who ended up on camera: Steve Casey at Holy Cross Energy, Steve Metheny and Jim Hennegan at Delta-Montrose Electric Association, Jeff Wadsworth at Poudre Valley REA, Bill Annan at Morgan County REA, Susan Hunter at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and Jerry Marizza and Ron Asche at United Power. If you ever worked on a project like this, you know the logistics are complicated and require the cooperation of a lot of people.
This video, “Colorado’s Electric Co-ops: Energy and Innovation,” demonstrates that Colorado’s electric co-ops are fulfilling our long-standing mission to provide safe, affordable and reliable electric service, and we are also integrating renewable resources and new technology to better serve our member-owners. The projects shown in this video are just a sample, and I have no doubt that somewhere down the road you will be able to watch “Energy and Innovation: The Sequel.”
Copyright 2011 by Colorado Rural Electric Association