Silverton GOLD (Goal Of Less Dependence) Team Wins $100,000 Department of Energy Prize for Grid Modernization and Resiliency Plan
San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) Line Technicians, Jeff Shay and Roy Bolton were recently praised by the San Juan County Commissioners for work they did during a February blizzard that had knocked out power as well as egress or outside aid. Shay and Bolton faced blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures making repairs to the nearby Cement Creek electrical substation and restored power. “Mr. Shay and Mr. Bolton went above and beyond to minimize the impact of the power outage to our citizens,” remarked the San Juan County Commissioners, in a letter of appreciation. “Thanks to San Miguel Power Association having well-trained and dedicated employees in our community, a potential disaster was averted.”
Power reliability has long been a strategic focus of SMPA, but recently, the concept of “Resiliency” has been added. This term refers to a community’s ability to adapt to power outages, the number of which has been on the rise in recent years. Answering the need, SMPA partnered with the Town of Silverton, San Juan County, and local non-profit, Eco Action Partners to form the Silverton Team GOLD (Goal Of Less Dependence). The team’s mission is to bring Silverton energy security, resiliency and modernization through the implementation of clean energy technologies.
“We are looking to regional partners to join us in four initiatives as we plan for the Silverton of the future to be more energy independent and economically sustainable,” said SMPA Key Accounts Executive, Terry Schuyler. “The outcomes of the Silverton GOLD Project will provide significant energy and cost savings and locally generated clean energy and electric power reliability.”
The GOLD project includes 1) Community Resilience Planning, 2) Regional Climate Action, 3) Beneficial Electrification and 4) Town Electrical Resilience in the form of potential facility-scale and community-scale “microgrid” solutions. The plan’s merit was recently affirmed by the federal Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), which awarded a $100,000 prize to begin the development and action steps necessary to realize the innovative, overarching plan. This project was one of only 67 throughout the nation to receive such a prize. Successful completion of Project Phase 1, comprising these steps, makes the Silverton GOLD team eligible for the next phase of the prize, focusing on implementation.
SMPA recently published its new Strategic Objectives including one… “To ensure the ongoing reliability and resiliency of our power supply infrastructure, while supporting our communities, overall resiliency efforts.” With the $100,000 OECD prize in hand, one would have to note that Silverton Team GOLD, with SMPA as a partner, is off to a good start!