Holy Cross Energy board needs someone like Jared Kerst | AspenTimes.com

Holy Cross Energy board needs someone like Jared Kerst

While reading through the candidate profiles for the upcoming Holy Cross Energy board of directors election June 8, I was struck by Clem Kopf’s remarks concerning the depth and length of Aspen Ski Co.’s successful attempts to influence and hand pick candidates for the HCE board.

As a former director of HCE for 33 years, I have an opinion or two that I’d like to share.

Electricity has captured such a vital role in today’s lifestyle that it is a shame to politicize the policy decision-making process entrusted to the board. The current board of directors is hopelessly compromised with conflict-of-interest issues as they try to sort out what is good policy for them personally and what is best for Holy Cross Energy. There is a solar-energy company owner, a county and a city environmental planner and an energy-efficiency coordinator. Overall, it is an incredibly green group of individuals who would benefit from some balance.

Lynn Dwyer, who is retiring, was the first of the “hand-picked” candidates and after a short learning curve became a well-respected board member. Her “lite” green agenda may well be replaced next month with “heavy” green.

Beyond board issues, the hypocrisy of Aspen Ski Co. trying to promote their green image when they themselves are undoubtably one of the biggest carbon polluters in the valley coupled with their private jet-setting clientele is absurd. To think the climate should annually provide a perfect ski season from Thanksgiving to Memorial Day is preposterous. So, to enable the cash registers to click in on Thanksgiving artificial carbon snow is produced as long as it is cold enough to run snow guns. Every year and season is different and the climate is definitely changing for the warmer side. Yet, how perfect was this past season where we had a magnificent warm, sunny fall, which precluded snow-making and enabled an extra month of growing season to produce another major ingredient of modern day America: local food production. In the long historic picture it is the height of arrogance to believe that man controls the climate but it behoves us all to attempt to leave the planet at least as good or better than we found it.

Back to the candidate profiles.

There probably are too many people aspiring for the current open director’s position to ensure any other outcome than the ski company’s choice of David Hornbacher being elected. Auden Schendler (vice president of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Co.) simply has to put out the word to the company’s workforce and his environmental cohorts that their choice is another certified, conflicted candidate who happens to currently run the Aspen Municipal Electric system. This heavyweight approach is hard to match by the other candidates. Right out of the box in the May 23 local papers there were two political letters of support for Hornbacher from Auden and Dan Richardson, the mayor of Carbondale, who probably due to his residential location is not even an HCE member. I don’t personally know Hornbacher and I’m sure from Dan’s endorsement that he is a fine person in his own right, but we do not need another conflicted board member at Holy Cross Energy.

Wake up, Holy Cross members, and coalesce behind an entrepreneurial business person who will add balance and integrity to the policy-making process. Green has always been my favorite color, but if anyone thinks that they are going to reliably run HCE’s load curve on 100 percent renewable energy at this point and keep reasonable rates, they better be prepared to face the music, and it isn’t going to be a waltz.

As for me, I know and will support the forward-thinking, green-but-balanced Jared W. Kerst for his broad scope of interests and the impeccable heritage of honesty and dedication that reflects his upbringing.

Tom Turnbull