Energy collaboration benefits all of us |

Energy collaboration benefits all of us

While Washington, D.C., fritters and argues about national energy policy, it’s good to know at least that many Americans are taking matters into their own hands and helping to plot a more sensible energy future.

Tuesday the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS), the Aspen Skiing Co., the town of Carbondale and the Community Office for Resource Efficiency flipped the switch on a new 150-kilowatt solar array that will power the school’s science building and sell excess energy to Xcel Energy, the local power utility provider.

According to Skico, the array sits on a half acre of ranchland owned by the school and will generate enough power to supply 20 average American homes for a year.

This is but one small step toward independence from fossil fuels, but it reflects a growing awareness in Colorado and the United States of the need for clean, renewable sources of power.

There is much that Washington can do to foster the development of wind power, solar power and other renewables in the form of tax incentives and public-land policies in the West, for example. But this kind of project shows that individual Americans, private companies, local governments, utilities and nonprofits can make an impact without special help, endorsement or permission from the federal government.

Nonetheless, we were gratified to see prominent Colorado politicians present at Tuesday’s ceremony in Carbondale, lending their support to the project and using the occasion to promote larger initiatives, such as Ritter’s effort to create a “new energy economy” in Colorado. As officials cut the ribbon on the CRMS solar array, U.S. Rep. Mark Udall urged Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to clear a bureaucratic path for solar energy projects on Bureau of Land Management property in six Western states.

So, despite America’s troubling dependency on fossil fuels, including millions of barrels of oil from foreign countries and leaders who hate us, there are reasons for hope. The new solar panels at CRMS are a shining example of ingenuity and forward thinking at a time when our state and country desperately need it.

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