Solar, not hydro, is the answer | AspenTimes.com

Solar, not hydro, is the answer

Dear Editor:

Recently, proponents of the Castle Creek hydro project have attempted to distract the public from how environmentally damaging the project will be by making exaggerated claims about the project’s environmental benefits. Some of the project opponents challenged the proponents to “put up or shut up” about their claims.

Guess what – the mayor, a project proponent, got city employees to create some scenarios to support the proponents’ claims. The trouble is that when the scenarios are adjusted for errors, the claimed benefits are 27 percent less than the proponents claim.

And to get these “less than advertised” benefits, we would have to de-water seven miles of the creeks, destroying the ecosystems. All of this when we could just buy renewable energy today at a lower cost than the project.

How many solar panels and how much electricity would be produced if the city of Aspen spent $10 million to put the panels on buildings and homes in Aspen? This could come to fruition within a year, with immediate returns – without damaging our precious creeks. I would imagine any commercial and residential owner would be happy to provide space for the panels. The power generated could be shared with the owners and the city. A win-win-win.

When will Mick and his gang see the light? Rather than use 21st-century technology, they want their 19th-century monument to the “greening of Aspen.”

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A fitting analogy of the hydro debacle is the city buying its own “shiny, antique vehicle” rather than using public transportation.

That there is even a debate (when our beautiful, natural resources will be impacted very, very negatively, forever, and spending outrageous amounts of money not approved by the voters) is outrageous and another example of city officials’ blatant arrogance.

Let’s put a stop to this Castle Creek-Maroon Creek hydropower-plant ecosystem attack and boondoggle, and implement solar solutions.

Kris Cox

Basalt