#HeroesofFreeingEnergy: Bryan Hannegan

“Our goal is to keep the lights on and the rates low, keeping everybody happy and safe. When you pay a Holy Cross bill, you are actually part owner in the electric cooperative.

We stem from the New Deal days when the investor-owned utilities were focused on electrification in the dense urban areas. We wanted electrification out in the countryside too. So the farmers at the time put together their own cooperative.

Through the Rural Electrification Act we were able to get funding from the federal government to invest in the infrastructure to set that up. Since 1939, we’ve been providing reliable, affordable, and safe electricity to the folks here in Colorado.

We’re governed by a seven member board of directors that are elected from within the people that we serve. It’s democracy at its finest. I think it’s a really great way for us to show what can be done when a community rallies around this notion of clean and local energy.

Since 2017, we’ve been investing in local solar, local biomass, hydro, geothermal coal mines, and methane capture from some of the defunct coal mines in our area. We’re also developing other solar and wind projects of larger scale. All of that will take us to be approximately 85% carbon free in our power supply very soon.

I’d say we add energy resilience as a design principle to everything that we do. We’ve had three major wildfires directly affect our service territory in the last four years. We’re working with our communities to help them understand what is absolutely critical to keep on.

We’re handing out EV chargers and helping people finance on a lease to own basis with $0 down and 0% financing batteries for their homes or businesses.

But you’re also going to allow us to use that battery on the blue sky days to help us run a better grid. If we use it, we’ll pay you for it.

We have the opportunity to do something that defines generations to come. That has a massive impact. The way that the world uses, produces, transmits, delivers energy is at the very core of who we are. If we can change that in a way to make it sustainable for good, I mean, there’s no higher calling than that.”

Bryan Hannagen, CEO and President of Holy Cross Energy, is one of the 320 people that author Bill Nussey interviewed for his new book. “Freeing Energy: How innovators are using local-scale solar and batteries to disrupt the global energy industry from the outside in.” Available today

Learn more about Bryan from his Freeing Energy podcast with Bill Nussey.

You can see all the heroes (so far) and their stories here.

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