Kit Carson Electric crosses finish line — @BigPivots

Taos Mesa Solar Array June 3, 2022. Photo credit: Allen Best/Big Pivots

Click the link to read the article on the Big Pivots website (Allen Best:

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was among those who helped snip the ribbon at the Taos Mesa Solar Array on June 3.

Altogether the cooperative now has 41 megawatts of solar capacity within its service territory in addition to 15 megawatts of battery storage.

This is sufficient to meet the daytime needs of the 7,500 homes within the service territory of Kit Carson in northern New Mexico.

Kit Carson set out to develop its solar capacity in 2002, long before solar was competitive. In 2016, though, directors as well as Luis Reyes Jr., the long-time chief executive, were clear about the future. They negotiated an exit fee of $37 million from wholesale provider Tri-State Generation and Transmission and realigned with a new wholesale provider, Guzman Energy.

Kit Carson is scheduled to make its final payment to Tri-State on June 30.

What is Kit Carson’s carbon mix? Reyes says he doesn’t know, and Guzman does not disclose that information.

#Drought news (June 30, 2022): Severe and extreme drought expanded across N.E. and central #Colorado, S.E. #WY, and parts of S.W. #NE

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor website.

Click the link to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

This Week’s Drought Summary

Widespread moderate drought and abnormal dryness continued to form and expand across a large swath of the eastern U.S. this week, with a few areas of severe drought forming or expanding as well. Spotty rain and storms occurred across the East, but in areas that missed out on heavy rainfall, high temperatures, browning lawns, and curling corn signaled that rapid drying was taking place in many areas. An early start to the North American Monsoon, particularly in New Mexico and southern Colorado, led to widespread improvement of extreme and exceptional drought in those states. Extreme drought formed or expanded in parts of the central Great Plains this week, where warm, dry weather continued. Moderate short-term drought also began to expand in parts of New England this week. Short-term moderate and severe drought expanded in coverage in Alaska and Puerto Rico, and drought conditions continued to expand in parts of Hawaii. Finally, despite some improvements to conditions in parts of the West, severe, extreme, and some exceptional drought remains widespread there…

High Plains

Extreme drought developed in far northeast Nebraska, and in adjacent portions of South Dakota and Iowa, near the Sioux City area. Here, on the short- and long-term precipitation deficits have combined with high evaporation rates to create significant soil moisture and groundwater shortages, which have recently been reported. Severe and extreme drought also expanded across northeast and central Colorado, southeast Wyoming, and parts of southwest Nebraska, where dry weather continued. North Platte, Nebraska may tie its second driest June on record, with 0.43 inches of rain having accumulated so far as of the morning of June 29. In southern Colorado, an early and active North American Monsoon has delivered heavy enough rainfall to cut into short- and long-term deficits, leading to widespread improvement of drought conditions in the southwestern part of the state. After recent heavy rains, drought conditions have continued to improve in northwest Wyoming. Heavy rain in central and south-central Kansas alleviated precipitation deficits and increased soil moisture and streamflow, such that drought conditions retreated to the west…

Colorado Drought Monitor one week change map June 28, 2022.


Improvements to drought conditions in the West continued this week, though much of the region remains entrenched in drought or abnormal dryness. After recent heavy precipitation, and cool temperatures during April-June, drought conditions continued to improve in Montana and adjacent northeast Idaho this week. Due to heavy precipitation associated with the early and active start to the North American Monsoon, most of New Mexico, and parts of southeast Arizona, saw improvements to ongoing drought conditions. Despite these improvements, drought, still ranging from severe to exceptional in many areas, continued in the West, leading to cricket and grasshopper swarms…


Mainly dry conditions prevailed in the South this week, particularly from central Oklahoma and northeast Texas through Arkansas. Elsewhere, conditions were mostly dry, though some areas of heavier precipitation fell locally. Precipitation deficits improved enough in parts of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle for some limited improvements to long-term drought conditions. Elsewhere, conditions mostly stayed the same or degraded, and abnormal dryness and moderate short-term drought quickly became entrenched in parts of east Texas, northern Louisiana, northern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and Tennessee. Severe and extreme short- and long-term drought continued to plague southern Louisiana and a large portion of Texas this week. In drought areas in Texas, soil moisture deficits and low streamflow remained a major impact this week. There, extreme heat made drought-related problems worse. White-tailed deer are expected to have lower antler quality this fall in Texas due to the conditions. Additionally, crop stress continued and stock tanks lowered…

Looking Ahead

Through the evening of Monday, July 4, the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center is forecasting dry weather across roughly the western two-thirds of Texas, much of Oklahoma, and most of the Intermountain West. Some precipitation is forecast across parts of Colorado and the Lower Missouri River Valley. Along the Gulf Coast, widespread precipitation is forecast to occur, with the heaviest amounts centered over parts of the Texas coast, where a tropical disturbance will approach. Heavy rainfall is also possible in coastal portions of Georgia and South Carolina. Elsewhere, pockets of moderate to heavy precipitation may fall across parts of the Southeast, mainly in the southern Appalachians or closer to the coasts.

For the period from Wednesday, July 6 to Saturday, July 9, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center forecast favors above-normal precipitation across much of the Upper Midwest, northern Great Plains, and Ohio River Valley. To a lesser extent, above-normal precipitation is also favored in remaining areas of the U.S., except for northern New England, where equal chances for above- or below-normal precipitation exist. Below-normal precipitation is favored in much of Texas and Oklahoma, and across most of the West, with the highest probabilities for below-normal precipitation occurring across northeast Nevada, northern Utah, southern Idaho, and western Wyoming. The forecast slightly favors above-normal precipitation in Washington, and above-normal precipitation is favored in western and central Alaska, while below-normal precipitation is favored in the Alaska Panhandle. A large area of high probabilities for warmer than normal temperatures exists across the central U.S., especially from the Great Plains to the Missouri and Mississippi River valleys. Above-normal temperatures are also favored in parts of the West and Southeast. Within the contiguous U.S., the only locations where below-normal temperatures are favored for this period are central and northern California to western Oregon and Washington, and New England. In Alaska, cooler than normal temperatures are favored in the west, and above-normal temperatures are favored in the east.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending June 28, 2022.

Inaugural #Wyoming #Climate Summit encourages local, collective action — WyoFile #ActOnClimate

Bryan Shuman, University of Wyoming professor of paleohydrology, paleoclimatology and paleoecology, coaxes audience members to behave like molecules while explaining atmospheric CO2 concentration levels June 25 at the Lander Community and Convention Center. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile)

Click the link to read the article on the Wyofile website (Dustin Bleizeffer:

Frustrated by state and federal inaction on climate change, community organizers have begun taking action in several Wyoming towns by showing the cost savings of energy efficiency measures and nudging municipal leaders toward small-scale renewable energy.

It’s a start, but not enough, Lander resident Ariel Greene said. The conversation about how climate change is already transforming Wyoming landscapes and threatening communities must become more inclusive and prominent, he told attendees of the inaugural Wyoming Climate Summit.

Signs posted at the inaugural Wyoming Climate Summit June 25 at the Lander Community and Convention Center. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile)

“The good news is that we have a fair idea about how to do this and much of the technology is available to do it,” said Greene, co-organizer of the summit. “It’s just that we’re not prioritizing the need to act now, collectively, and at speed and scale. We need many more people working on this problem.”

About 200 people attended the Saturday event, organized by the Lander Climate Action Network. The summit featured discussions on initiating and sustaining local climate action, as well as strengthening ties between climate science and community sustainability through traditional Native American ecological knowledge.

“[Traditional ecological knowledge] helps engage communities and science partnerships,” said Margaret Redsteer, an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe and assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington. “When people see that their own observations are being acknowledged and that their own observations aren’t just something of a fluke that they happen to see, it is really, really a powerful thing.”

Turning frustration into action

The same frustration with inaction spurred the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and regional scientists to study the current and projected impacts of climate change in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Bryan Shuman, director of the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center in Grand Teton Park co-authored the Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment. The study, published in 2021, confirms critical changes already underway in six watersheds due to declining snowpack and warming temperatures. Using such information to encourage conversations at the local level is as important as the science itself, according to Shuman.

“This is exactly why we did the Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment — to facilitate discussions like this,” Shuman told Wyoming Climate Summit attendees.

The hydrological and ecological changes that are already occurring in the region will only intensify, Shuman said. To what degree, however, depends on local policies and actions that must be part of a global response.

“We’re not totally doomed here,” Shuman said, adding that the far range of global temperature modeling can be avoided. “We’re going to face change, that’s unquestionable. But we have a lot of choices before us as to how to approach [climate change]. I think the biggest uncertainty about the future isn’t the physics of the climate system — it is what are our choices going to mean.”

Hope and local knowledge

Cody Pitz, a coordinator for the Jackson chapter of the Sunrise Movement, said a lot of young people he talks with about climate change are frustrated to the point of giving up. However, messages he heard at the Wyoming Climate Summit gave him more hope.

Wyoming Climate Summit attendees watch a demonstration of automation capabilities during the event’s electric vehicle car show June 25 in Lander. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile)

“It’s clear to me, based on politics and society, that we will not reach the levels [limiting global temperature rise] that a lot of us would like to, to have a more livable planet,” Pitz said. “But it’s clear to me that doing something is better than nothing, and I think that’s really motivating.”

The climate conversation must include and prioritize Indigenous people — a realization that is gaining traction among those advocating for climate action, Redsteer said. Indigenous people all over the world have adapted to changing ecosystems, and their responses are rooted in community and living sustainably with what each landscape offers.

“There’s nobody more resilient than a tribal community,” Redsteer said. “One of the things about Indigenous and local knowledge is it really is focused on living within the natural world and all of our relations to the ecosystems in the land and animals — all of the beings around us.”

Wyoming rivers map via

@DWR_CO Division 5 Job Announcement: Full time engineer — Water Court

From email from the Division of Water Resources Division 5 (James Heath):

Professional Engineer I (Glenwood Springs) – State of Colorado, Division of Water Resources is now accepting applications for our full time Professional Engineer I (Glenwood Springs). This position exists to provide management to the Division 5 operations group responsible for Water Court activities.

The Water Court related duties include to assist the public through the Water Court process; prepare expert witness reports; consult with the Water Court regarding Water Court applications; negotiate or provide expert engineering support / testimony to litigate any conditions necessary to protect existing water rights; and be the work lead for administrative staff.

This position will also assist the Augmentation Plan group by providing engineering expertise and analysis necessary for the adjudication and administration of plans for augmentation; support water rights administration by developing methodologies to collect and analyze water diversion and delivery data to verify augmentation plan operators are operating in compliance with all applicable court decrees, statutes, rules and regulations; and provide assistance to the public in understanding Colorado water law.

Applicant must possess a current, valid license as a Professional Engineer from the Colorado State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors. Must be willing and able to possess and maintain a State of Colorado Driver’s License.

Click here to apply online. State of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Application deadline is 11:59 pm on 7/11/2022.

Colorado River “Beginnings”. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism