Malo: Black Hills makes its pitch |

Malo: Black Hills makes its pitch

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Jason Auslander of Black Hills Energy expressed his concern about Roaring Fork Valley municipalities enacting methane-gas bans in his March 16 guest commentary in The Aspen Times.

First, let’s make clear what we’re discussing here. A ban on gas hookups in new construction can be done with a simple line item in the Uniform Development Code. A much trickier endeavor will be retrofitting existing buildings to full electrification.

Auslander cites costs as the big reason not to convert. The fact is a heat pump consumes a third of the energy a gas furnace to produce the same amount of heat. Installation expenses can be defrayed by state and federal rebates and tax credits.

Our electric bills will skyrocket, he posits. Not if you have rooftop solar. He is correct when he asserts Colorado power is coal-heavy, so we wouldn’t be saving emissions by drawing more electricity from the grid. True enough, but relief is on the way: Xcel Energy has plans to shut down all coal plants in the state before 2031, and Holy Cross Energy is committed to be 100% renewable by 2030.

I’m sure Auslander and Black Hills would love it if we hung onto methane gas while we transfer to renewables. So, when 2030 gets here and we haven’t achieved our emissions goals and are experiencing catastrophic climate events, they can say, “See, you can’t live without us.”

When I quit drinking, I didn’t taper off. That never works. I went cold turkey. I went through all the cold sweats and other withdrawal symptoms until I arrived at the other side. It was worth it. I don’t believe I’d be alive today if I hadn’t taken that step.

So it should be for climate action. It’s time to cut bait and save the boat from being pulled to the bottom of the lake by the lunker.

Fred Malo Jr.