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Fowler diving headfirst into renewable energy

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Here’s an update on a very early post on this site. The town of Fowler, Colorado, has a diverse and integrated strategy to gain energy independence while saving money. Great stuff.

Posted: 04/18/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

Updated: 04/18/2010 08:56:58 AM MDT

Wayne Snider, a former Grumman Areopspace executive, is now the Fowler town administrator. He’s standing in front of what used to be the Park Elementary school, built in 1905, which will soon house the city administration offices, the library and the police department and will be run by solar power and use geothermal exchange for heating and cooling. (Joe Amon | The Denver Post)

One source of renewable energy Fowler is planning is an anaerobic digester that will make methane from manure at the Rocky Ford feed yard. (Joe Amon | The Denver Post )

FOWLER — Like many a town on the Eastern Plains, this farming community has seen better days, but now it has a new plan. It is going to disappear — from the electric grid.

If all the town’s plans — and there are many — come to pass, Fowler will generate its own electricity, biofuel and manure-based gas; and an empty canning plant will turn into a new solar-panel factory.

At a time when a raft of public officials, including President Barack Obama and Gov. Bill Ritter, are calling green and renewable energy a key to rejuvenating the American economy, tiny Fowler is making itself a full-scale test case.

Read the entire article here.

Efficiency, Innovation, Natural Gas are Keys to Energy Security

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Former Presidents Bush and Clinton are walking a fine line, balancing between taking advantage of the cost effective resources we have now, such as oil and gas, and the need to protect our energy security and natural environment for generations to come.

Two former presidents share many energy views

By JENNIFER A. DLOUHY and TOM FOWLER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

March 12, 2011, 2:28AM

Oil will be essential for fueling the U.S. for decades to come, but low-emission natural gas and improved efficiency will bridge the transition to cleaner alternative fuels, business leaders, two former presidents and energy analysts said Friday.

Former President George W. Bush told a packed ballroom of energy executives at the CERAWeek conference that while the U.S. has a vision of new technologies to power our homes and propel our cars, the nation needs to be prosperous to afford them. And that prosperity, Bush said, is tied to oil and natural gas.

Although they have been political adversaries, Bush and former President Bill Clinton agreed that the U.S. should do more to harness the promise of natural gas, which produces fewer emissions than coal and oil.

[…]

But he cautioned that the nation needs to make sure that the hydraulic fracturing process, used to unlock vast stores of gas in shale formations, doesn’t contaminate drinking water supplies or create an accident that shuts down the industry the way last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill stopped most offshore drilling.

[…]

‘We’ve got to take action’

Big energy consumers said they are scrambling to offset spikes in crude prices and eke out more per barrel by boosting efficiency.

Read the entire article here.

Powering a Community

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This sleepy rural town is far ahead of so many others in terms of their vision. Sure, it would be difficult for them to accomplish their goals without the massive influx of government funds, but since utility companies are often major expenditures for cities of any size, the vision here will likely be a money saver in the long run.

It’s especially important to note the strategy they’ve adopted: diverse energy technologies coupled with overall reductions in energy use. A very wise strategy indeed.

When Orson Squire Fowler bought the land that would one day become the Town of Fowler, he anticiapted a great future for both Colorado and the town. O.S. Fowler envisioned community farms producing organic food, livestock and a quality of life second to none.

Today, “Community Powered” is the slogan that exemplifies this rural community’s goal of energy independence by harnessing the area’s abundant wind, solar and biomass resources while implementing conservation. How is this sustainable vision being transformed into reality?

Download the full article here.