JUNE 11, 2019 BY 

From the Steamboat Pilot & Today | June 10, 2019

  • Mitigation of factors causing climate change and adaptions to changes that are occurring now and will continue in the future;
  • Impacts of changing weather patterns e.g., heat waves, cold snaps, length of seasons, air quality and droughts and their effects on energy demands and jobs;
  • Transitions from a coal-based economy to renewable energy sources and natural gas and job training for displaced workers;
  • Population and demographics changes — effects of older, affluent retirees and non-tenant homeowners;
  • Shifting housing markets, construction and real estate transactions;
  • Land use changes from real to hobby farms and ranches;
  • Effects of expansion of high-speed Internet services on employees working remotely, students and adult education, home-based businesses and retraining of displaced workers.

These changes require institutions having mandated roles in and management of energy/electricity, water, communication services, etc. to broaden their responsibilities in influencing the health, safety and well-being of the communities they serve.

One such institution, the Yampa Valley Electric Association was formed in 1940 following the Rural Electrification Act of 1935. Over the years YVEA expanded from serving farms and ranches to serving towns and businesses throughout Northwest Colorado. Its vision was simple — bring low-cost electric power to its customers.

Now in the 21st century, the needs and aspirations of customers are no longer simple and institutions, such as the YVEA, need to expand their vision to include an ever-broadening mandate of responsibility.

Like it or not, these transitions are complicated, complex, interrelated — wicked problems — and they are taking place now. Old ways of thinking based on “we have always done it this way,” outdated interpretations of statutory authority and traditional “group think” will not solve current or future problems.

Northwest Colorado needs YVEA representatives with new visions; holistic, integrative and collaborative perspectives; and trans (multi-)-generational thinking. Needed are leaders to guide new and creative visions of organizations such as YVEA in effectively addressing to 21stcentury energy and related challenges.

We need to evaluate candidates based on where they stand on the vitally important issues facing Northwest Colorado and what they propose for addressing these interrelated challenges. Study the positions of the candidates running for the YVEA Board — then vote. Ballots must be mailed by June 14.

Bob Woodmansee