Colorado Communities Cooperative

Cooperative Portal

Welcome to the Colorado Communities Cooperative Working Groups Portal.
The Cooperative is a stand-alone entity led by volunteer participants designed to solve the challenges identified at the Colorado Communities Symposium in early 2018. By October, those ideas were consolidated into various Working Groups tasked with finding solutions. The initial takeaways from the Groups, notes, and other resources are available below. Continue checking this page for additional information as it becomes available.

Clean Transportation 📁

  • (3 Groups) Installing a network of redundant DC fast charging in cities; Conducting technology assessments of best options for government fleets; and Building a statewide campaign to engage the public

    • What Happened: Across the three breakout groups, we determined to fold these conversations into the Colorado Electric Vehicle Coalition (CEVC). (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Contact Maria Eisemann (, 303-866-2204) or Zach Owens ( 303-866-3279) to get on the CEVC mailing list.

    • Next Steps: Add interested participants to the CEVC. The next meeting is scheduled for December 20th from 10am - noon.

Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy 📁

  • Engaging with local utilities to increase clean energy supplied to communities

    • What Happened: Discussed the transition to renewable energy and how to support energy efficiency along with demand side management. Explored two tracks of how to work with Xcel and promote best practices in Co-Op territory. Would like to see clearly stated emissions reporting, and CDPHE offered to look into it. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: See Compact’s Engaging Local Utilities Working Group

    • Next Steps: The discussion concluded with this task being integrated with the Engaging Local Utilities Working Group which is currently led by John Cattles, Kristen Taddonio, and Chris Menges.

  • Developing and spreading resources to help local leaders talk with their building owners about energy efficiency benefits, implementation, etc.

    • What Happened: Explored various solutions for informing the local officials and the public about policies such as building codes, benchmarking / transparency, C-PACE, utility incentives, and other supporting programs. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Christine Brinker ( 720-939-8333), Alice Laird ( 970-704-9200), Cary Weiner ( 970-980-9201)

    • Next Steps: Christine Brinker and Angie Fyfe will distribute information on energy code updates and resilience with briefings and best practices. Christine Brinker will talk to the Colorado Energy Office in regards to current benchmarking of state facilities. Group participants will check if their county has opted in to C-PACE by checking and talking to their county officials if not.

  • Creating strategies to increase level and availability of building energy efficiency expertise and business activity (via economic development incentives or otherwise) in rural communities

    • What Happened: Explored the barriers and solutions to EE&CE development, particularly around a stronger vision and programs on the statewide level with increased funding, capacity, and other incentives. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Alice Laird ( 970-704-9200), Christine Brinker ( 720-939-8333), Cary Weiner ( 970-980-9201)

    • Next Steps: Susie Strife will distribute white paper on beneficial electrification. Jonathan Koehn will send out Boulder’s SmartRegs (EE upgrades for rental properties to protect tenants from high bills). Also listed reaching out to Xcel Energy to encourage more targeting EE incentives towards rural areas, developing a business case for DSM for REAs, asking the State to require contractor licensing-like many other states do, and moving Co-op/renewable issue to the Compact’s Utility Working Group.

General & Economic Vitality 📁

  • Building a toolkit with case studies, impacts, costs, economic data, sample policies, etc.

    • What Happened: The group was highly engaged and seemed to continue running up against the issue that there is no understanding of what other communities in Colorado are doing to implement climate/sustainability work. There was frustration that the State has not played a larger role in collecting information and data and making it available to local governments. The group identified a need for more and better information, and an easier way to distribute case studies, best practices, and technical assistance. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Julia Ferguson ( 216-346-7478) & Paul Donegan ( 720-626-4140)

    • Next Steps: The Colorado APA Sustainability Committee hosted a happy hour event on Nov. 1 to hear about the research of Rocky Piro (Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism) about the "State of Sustainability" in Colorado. Not all group members were able to attend, so the group co-chairs will distribute the presentation and research to the group. A group call will be set up following the holidays to establish the goals and priorities of the group, and to establish action items and timelines for completion.

  • Forming and supporting innovative funding options leveraging public and private sector sources to help communities implement solutions

    • What Happened: Most people did not know of the funding options currently available and spent most of the session exploring how they work. There was a realization of a need for education of practitioners on these options, with potentially the Colorado Energy Office being that resource (no representative attended breakout). (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: John Cattles ( 970-641-8560)

    • Next Steps: John will correspond with the CEO to determine what resources are available and report back.

  • Developing recommendations for strategic economic development solutions that specifically help marginalized and under-served communities with issues such as poverty, broadband, and public health and have co-benefit of enhancing resilience or reducing energy / emissions

    • What Happened: Explored the complicated subject of equity in exploring barriers and potential solutions around building capacity, empowering leadership, and supporting mentorship. There is a need to weave together existing support services focused on marginalized communities and determine the top, big-picture priorities. The group agreed this is an area that requires substantial time, resources, and broad collaboration. Unfortunately, these aren’t currently available within this network. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: None

    • Next Steps: Alice Laird will look into cataloging services for low income weatherization, etc., and rural economic resilience through energy innovation. Lack of available capacity and the depth of the challenge made it difficult to otherwise determine appropriate next steps.

  • Developing a Statewide program that facilitates staff sharing and rotation, a post-graduate fellowship program and mentoring

    • What Happened: People had some initial ideas for a framework but this work is huge. There were only 3 or 4 in our group. No key people on this issue. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Jill Ryan ( 303-908-4577)

    • Next Steps: As a group did not agree to meet again.

  • Establishing data, usage standards and decision-support tools to inform budget, long-term financial planning and capital investment decisions

    • What Happened: We discussed potential data that could be used to inform budgeting, long-term planning and capital investment decisions. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: None

    • Next Steps: None

Resilience 📁

  • Establishing a statewide peer-to-peer network for resilience and emergency management

    • What Happened: Established that we want to create a peer network for resiliency. Also look at how we can use modeling to understand risks related to climate change. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Rob Pressly ( 303-291-7822) and Ellie Barber ( 970-925-7376)

    • Next Steps: The Colorado Resilience Office is considering supporting localized peer networks for this purpose in the future. Rob Pressly is the best contact to learn more.

  • Standardizing financial risk modeling for extreme events and 2-degree climate change scenarios

    • What Happened: This is a potential project between CWCB and CRO that is awaiting FEMA funding; if FEMA funding is not secured CWCB and CRO will seek outside funding. (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Taryn Finnessey ( 303-866-3441 x3231)

    • Next Steps: Awaiting word from FEMA, will start to explore other funding options in the new year if FEMA funding has not been secured.

Water, Agriculture, & Forestry 📁

  • Creating a fund to help restore soil and to reforest (e.g. watershed restoration fund)

    • What Happened: Discussed the barriers with lack of funding (especially for long-term) and education around the roles of watersheds, needing to fight the myth around fire which is a natural process, and the association between forest health and water costs. In addition to better education and political leadership, a Water Fund was explored with a focus on the tracks of mitigation and prevention, and contingency.  (Link to Drive Folder)

    • Point Person: Jeff Underhill ( 970-222-1756), Helen Silver ( 404-931-3464)

    • Next Steps: Planning to have another call to decide on a focus / mission for next actions of the group and putting together some type of best practices or playbook. Contact Helen for additional information.