Here are the facts |

Here are the facts

Dear Editor:

On Wednesday, The Aspen Times printed a letter from Hal Harvey requesting “Just the facts, please.” Unfortunately, the author of the letter avoided the very thing he asked for: facts. So here they are:

Harvey’s incorrect fact: The city has claimed a 5 percent rise in electric prices per year. Correct fact: The city completed financial models of electric prices using a 1 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent projected annual inflation rate for coal-fired wholesale electric energy. It never used a 5 percent annual projected rate. Review the numbers at

Harvey’s incorrect fact: The city filed for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit under a flood exemption. Correct fact: There is no flood-exemption permit. The city investigated a conduit-exemption permit but is now pursuing a minor water-power project license from FERC.

Harvey’s incorrect fact: The city is using outdated and insufficient hydrology data. Correct fact: The city has hydrologic data from Castle and Maroon creeks spanning over a recent 20-year period. In addition, ongoing biological analysis starting in 2010 is taking place on Castle and Maroon creeks.

Harvey’s incorrect fact: The city uses unrealistically low expenses for hydro. Correct fact: The city used numbers based on experience from the Ruedi and Maroon Creek hydro plants, which are currently operating. It also used numbers from industry standards to create this conservative model. In addition, more than 60 percent of the project has already been completed.

Harvey’s incorrect fact: The city failed to compare the hydro plant with other zero-carbon-emission alternatives. Correct fact: The city has looked at a variety of alternative hydro projects, but the local streams don’t have enough head to complete such projects. In addition, it is fiscally more responsible for the city to create and own its own power source. Hydro has proven itself for centuries to be a dependable source of carbon-free electric energy with great financial payback. Modern hydro plants have a 75-year or greater life span. Wind and solar for community power have limited history and have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.

When it comes to the facts, the city says, bring them on, but please be correct.

Mitzi Rapkin

Community relations director, City of Aspen

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