Utilities continue to shove coal to the side and see renewables as the way the wind is blowing

The Martin-Drake Coal plant in Colorado Springs will process its last lump of coal Friday. The Martin Drake Power Plant will burn its last load of coal Friday, ending a century of coal-burning near downtown Colorado Springs. All but one of Colorado’s remaining coal plants will also close in this decade. What will replace the electricity generated by coal combustion in times when neither the wind blows nor the sun shines? The answers remain unclear.

The Giving Garden: Boulder starts solar farm for low-income mobile home residents

The City of Boulder’s solar farm for the Ponderosa mobile home is the first built specifically for low-income residents.Photo courtesy of the City of Boulder

Even with the promise of free electricity, Kathy Schlereth remains skeptical of the city of Boulder. She has lived in Ponderosa in Boulder for 20 years, long enough to call her neighborhood what it is, a mobile home park, not the politically correct “Manufactured Home Community.” Now the city has started the Ponderosa Solar Garden. The garden produces solar energy off-site that is sold back to the electrical grid, giving the residents of Ponderosa credits that reduce or eliminate their monthly electric bill. 

Solar gardens have been around for years for private subscribers who want to be more environmentally friendly and cut their bills, but this is the first time a Colorado municipality has built one specifically for low-income residents in a particular community. 

Boulder’s decision should benefit her. She and other Ponderosa residents should see $400 in annual credit off their electric bill. But back in 2017, the city purchased Ponderosa to create long-term stability for the low-income residents there.