Not giving up on hydro

Not giving up on hydro

Dear Editor:

This week’s spring snow, causing the lights to blink, recalls the Labor Day storm of 1961 when the town was without power because the lines supplying Aspen were down. Fortunately the historic Castle Creek power-plant turbines had not yet been scrapped and I was able to start up the historic plant and provide emergency power for Aspen until the power lines could be repaired.

Can it happen again? Yes! But unfortunately, there are no turbines in place to rescue this town. There is not a day goes by that I do not regret that poor decision to scrap the power plant. Though we cannot undo the past, we can still provide for our children’s future.

Much ado has been made over the results of last fall’s advisory question concerning Castle Creek hydro by “Save Our streams,” an “anti-Castle Creek Hydro” propaganda effort designed to frustrate the city’s efforts to place Aspen at the forefront of clean renewable energy. That election was “bought” by a deliberate distortion of the true facts, with glossy mailers showing dry-stream beds lined with “redwood” trees that illustrated this “twisting of the facts.” I suspect, hidden within this “anti-hydro” effort are folks who still wish to steal our historic water rights under the guise of “Saving Our Streams.”

As a long-time resident of Aspen, I hope all our citizens will refute those who are determined to destroy Aspen’s efforts to use its lawful water rights to generate clean hydro-electric power for its citizens. My challenge to the anti-hydro faction is: The conservation of the equivalent amount of energy (in BTU) not generated by hydro power in our daily use of energy within our individual homes, i.e. turning off unnecessary energy consuming devices such as heated driveways.

Having had “hands-on” experience with the generation of hydro-electric power on Castle and Maroon creeks, I can state as a fact, that never in my experience operating the power plants on Castle or Maroon creeks did we denigrate the streams or their aquatic life. Opposition to Aspen’s use of its adjudicated water rights for power generation will provide the means for outside interests to claim the right to divert water from Castle and Maroon Creeks. As the saying goes, “water flows uphill to money.”

I am proud of the fact that I have been a part of Aspen’s hydro-electric history

Jim Markalunas