The local battle over the future of the city’s beleaguered Castle Creek hydro plant is shaping up as a “green versus green” dilemma. But it’s only a dilemma for the uninformed.
The city’s argument for “green energy at any cost” has environmentalists and fiscal hawks lining up together to stop this latest chapter of City Hall irresponsibility. And it’s not just the money, although the financials are abysmal. The risks of an environmental disaster are real, and these risks simply cannot be overlooked in the name of “green” energy. Nor can the full scope of these costs be valued in dollars.
The pro-hydro campaign is touting a project that is anything but green. Consider just the basics. When Aspen’s electricity needs are the highest, in the winter, the hydro plant will not be operational because the creeks will be running at their lowest. The Castle Creek hydro plant actually depends on and requires the use of conventional energy in the winter months. And while it may be green to reduce coal consumption, don’t let this noble ideal color your thoughts on the project. It is not up to Aspen to dictate to the energy provider in Nebraska their mix of energy sources.
Furthermore, why would the good and responsible citizens of Aspen, who strive to set examples at every turn, risk the dewatering and destruction of our local streams when there are many cost-effective and minimally impactful renewable energy alternatives available today, such as solar, wind, and other forms of hydro?
Vote “no” on 2C. Stop the hydro plant today and let’s get on with the pursuit of responsible and truly green forms of renewable energy to reduce Aspen’s carbon footprint. It’s not green to kill a stream.