These solar gardens aim to address environmental equity in low-income communities where 40% of energy is used.
Denver — New gardens are being built throughout Denver.
Not the kind of garden you think it is, but the kind of garden where you can harvest energy and donate it to low-income families.
Designed to address environmental fairness. Without this kind of equity, Denver cannot meet its environmental goals. The first solar garden is located on the roof of the National Western Complex.
The rest will be built in neighborhoods, recreation centers, and on Denver Public School grounds over the next year.
The City of Denver said that once the 11 projects are complete, 40% will help low-income families through Denver Public Schools and the Denver Housing Authority.
Grace Link, executive director of Denver’s Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency Office, said:
Denver Public Schools works with Energy Outreach Colorado to connect families.
DPS already has a hub of family-friendly resources, identifying those who are available for ongoing support and connecting them to EOC and Solar Garden programs.
EOC says it saves families an average of $700 a year.
“Specifically for the reduction in bills,” Link said. “We anticipate that at least 300 households will be accommodated in our program.”
This is certainly a small number when looking at the number of families living in areas considered vulnerable to climate change.
“In Denver, climate-vulnerable communities follow an inverted ‘L’ geographically, coincidentally with the historically red-lined area,” Link said.
“To what extent can families withstand the changes that climate change is already bringing to us?” she asked. “Like extreme heat and increased air pollution and other extreme weather events that we are trying to reduce. Will I be able to recover?”
“No community, no city can meet its climate change goals if it abandons part of its population,” Link said.
Kim Shields, EOC’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, estimates that 100,000 people on the low end will have access to assistance for energy bills and cities transitioning to clean energy. Solar Garden is just one of a series of projects to provide such assistance, filling the gap left by Excel Energy’s efforts.
“80% of their energy will come from renewable sources by 2030,” said Kelly Flenniken, Xcel’s director of community relations, of their customers. “At least 85 carbon reductions are projected.”
Xcel is building the transmission systems needed to move more renewable energy, such as wind and solar, across the state, and plans to get proposals to significantly shift the grid. Xcel expects more information for next spring.
“[We’ve] Analyze fuel sources over time.what we have seen [the] The cost of renewable resources is more competitive, if not more affordable, than some of the conventional sources,” said Frniken.
It is estimated that it will cost about $2 billion to build the transmission system, according to Flenniken. The costs of bringing renewable energy sources online have yet to be determined.
Once the projects are complete, Xcel will go back to the utility board to discuss rates and see if the current rates can cover the costs of these projects or if people’s bills need to be raised to recover the cost of the bills. Determine if there is a
That has not yet been decided.
In addition to Solar Garden, the City of Denver shared other programs to support families:
“Through the Climate Protection Fund, we are funding many innovative programs to enable all Denver citizens, regardless of income, to participate in the new green economy and reduce their environmental impact. Paid occupational jobs needed for a green economy.There is a free e-bike library for essential workers, and thanks to a very popular rebate program, more than 2,100 income-eligible people own e-bikes. Our Home Energy Rebate will allow many residents to replace their aging and inefficient stoves and water heaters with newer electric models by 2023. and lower the cost of adding solar power to your home, we have an exciting program in place for 2023.”
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