It’s all wind for Avon town government |

It’s all wind for Avon town government

Matt Terrell
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

AVON, Colo. ” Wind farms across Colorado are now producing 100 percent of the Avon town government’s electricity.

The town began this month buying wind-generated electricity from Holy Cross Energy to power street lights and town buildings like the recreation center and town hall.

Fossil fuels aren’t burned to produce wind electricity, virtually eliminating the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Wind energy is widely considered to be more environmentally friendly. Unlike Vail Resorts and the town of Vail, eight miles to the east, Avon isn’t buying “offsets” or renewable energy certificates.

Aspen, too, is pushing toward powering all municipal operations with renewable energy sources. The city is currently at about 75 percent ” primarily from wind and hydropower sources.

The energy being used by Avon is the same energy being produced by wind farms, while those who buy offsets and renewable energy certificates are actually buying guarantees that when they buy electricity created by burning fossil fuels, it’s replaced in the “grid” with an equal amount of clean energy produced by wind farmers.

“These aren’t just credits to offset our electricity use. This is a hundred percent bona-fide wind power.” Town Manager Larry Brooks said. Avon has been on a waiting list since 2006 with Holy Cross Energy to buy wind power. The power is produced in Colorado at wind power farms located in Ponnequin, Ridgecrest, Lamar, Peetz Table, Logan, Twin Buttes and Cedar Creek.

The wind power is more expensive ” about 28 percent more than the electricity the town used to buy. Based on 2007 energy use, the town will be buying roughly 205,000 kilowatt hours of energy, costing about $61,000. Town leaders say the extra cost is worth it to reduce the town’s carbon footprint and lead residents in becoming a better stewards of the environment.

“Governments as a whole are one of the largest energy consumers in the world,” said Jennifer Strehler, Avon’s public works and transportation director. “We have a unique opportunity to lead by example in a way that positively impacts climate change.”

Avon resident Cameron Parker, a weekly recycler and bus rider, said he was pleased to see Avon start using wind power. “The more people who invest in that stuff, the better,” Parker said. “I’d like to see every town here do something like that.”

Buying wind power is the most recent in a flurry of environmental action from the town. Avon recently finished an audit of its energy use to see where it can reduce its carbon emissions and is developing a comprehensive energy plan. The town also recently bought a hybrid bus and a high-efficiency diesel bus.

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