There are better ways to conserve energy |

There are better ways to conserve energy

Dear Editor:

I’ve been reading the pros and cons of this controversial subject of building a mini hydro electric generator to serve the Aspen electric utility. I’m totally supportive of green electron generation but let’s look at the big picture. Ten and a half million dollars in capital costs for a utility with 2,865 service accounts translates into $3,664 per account in the Aspen municipal utility district.

For one half that amount of money the city is way better served by hiring a team of young (local) environmentalists to replace all incandescent and fluorescent lamps with LED lamps in each residential and commercial building in the district. Wireless occupancy sensors can also be installed within this budget. The new generation of LED lamps can duplicate the warm light and dimmability of incandescent lamps at a fraction of the energy consumption.

Consumers would see significantly lower power bills and an added bonus is that the best quality LED lamps are made in America and they last a lifetime. Not to mention the job training aspect of this concept. The focus now should be on lowering consumption through technology because the technology is now here and affordable. Once that is achieved, the local demand can be more accurately measured. If and when additional supply is needed, we can look at hydro and solar projects (not wind) to increase the supply of green electrons.

The focus on renewable supply is often misguided. We need to look at the low hanging fruit of our antiquated consumption practices. Aspen’s lofty goal of 100 percent renewable sounds “nice” but the environmental goals are best achieved by lowered consumption first.

Craig Metz


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