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Green-washing claim disputed

Steve Schechter’s May 12 letter to the editor indicates he doubts the claim of providing 100% renewable energy to the Aspen’s electric utility (“Green-washing in Aspen,” The Aspen Times). He provides a citation from Aspen’s wholesale electric provider to question the validity of claims made by Aspen. He questions whether the electrons generated by Aspen’s wholesale provider, Municipal Utility Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), actually reach the community.

I can speak to Aspen’s renewable energy portfolio as a result of working toward the goal of 100% renewable energy beginning in the late 1990s and being involved in the daily administration of renewable energy delivery. Aspen’s contract with MEAN has terms that are unique and have allowed development of several sources of hydroelectric energy in proximity to Aspen, some of which began operation nearly 40 years ago.

What is missing in Mr. Schechter’s description is a sense of how the electric grid operates on an hourly basis. The basic principle of gaining access to the grid is that a balance must be maintained between the amount of electric energy provided to a utility’s customers and the amount generated and delivered to the electric grid. In addition to the four hydroelectric generators (either owned by Aspen or contracted by Aspen), MEAN contracts for delivery of wind energy from generators in the Midwest and also delivers energy from a landfill gas facility. The delivery of energy to Aspen’s electric utility is balanced against renewable generation in real time and is separately tracked by source. An hourly report, indicating which energy sources make up the deliveries to the grid, ensures a balance between energy supplied and delivered.



Customers of Aspen’s electric utility can be assured that the delivery of energy is based on 100% renewable energy and that this has been continually tracked for the time period from 2015 when Aspen first made the claim of being the third utility in the nation to reach this goal.

Phil Overeynder




Aspen


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