The La Plata Electric Association board will have more progressive members interested in more aggressively pursuing renewable energy in the coming year after the co-op’s Thursday election.
LPEA members elected Jack Turner, Dan Huntington and Holly Metzler to the co-op’s board of directors.
Joe Lewandowski ran unopposed to represent LPEA’s District 3, which is in Durango. The directors will serve three-year terms on a 12-member board.
Out of the 25,411 ballots mailed in the election, 6,624 LPEA members cast votes for an approximate 26% return, which is on par with the 2018 election, which also had a 26% turnout.
Turner will represent District 4, northern and eastern La Plata County. He was the incumbent candidate and has served on the board for six years. He is supportive of exploring local renewable generation that could help lower rates for members and encourage economic development, he said previously.
Turner’s residency was questioned ahead of the election, but it was confirmed on three occasions by an independent committee.
“The voters definitely saw through all of that,” he said.
He said he is looking forward to developing a plan to achieve the co-op’s goal to cut carbon by 50% by 2030 and keeping rates low. He wants to see the co-op continue to take a methodical, fact-based approach to researching power supply that has set LPEA apart among its fellow co-ops, he said.
Huntington will represent District 2, southern and western La Plata County. He is the incumbent and is supportive of stable rates and a methodical approach to renewable energy development because it is expensive, he said previously.
Metzler will represent District 1, Archuleta County. She will replace LPEA Director Mike Alley, who did not seek re-election.
Metzler, a political newcomer, beat former Archuleta County Commissioner Michael Whiting in the race. She said her knowledge of the issues set her apart from her opponent.
She was happy to see the co-op becoming more transparent. Recently, LPEA has started live-streaming its meetings and archiving them on its website.
“I’m really super excited about the new direction,” she said.
Metzler, an owner of Wilderness Journeys and Pagosa Rafting Outfitters, voiced support for pursuing renewable energy during her campaign. She expected to bring expertise to the position because she recently earned a master’s of science in environmental policy from the University of Denver.
Durango’s new representative, Lewandowski, a strong supporter of renewables, will replace Doug Lyon, who was a conservative voice on the board.