In 1885, Aspen became the first American municipality west of the Mississippi to use hydroelectric power. Today, the City of Aspen electric system uses 100% renewable energy (46% hydroelectric, 53% wind power, 1% landfill gas).
By showing the economic viability of renewable energy integration, we hope this model will be adapted worldwide.
Renewable Energy Resources of Aspen
Hydroelectric: The City of Aspen energy supply is 46% hydroelectric, including the Ruedi Dam and Maroon Creek Hydroelectric facility.
Solar: A solar thermal panel system is helping us meet our domestic hot water supply, and the water department is installing a solar voltaic system on the electric grid under the Solar Voltaic Project, reducing our community's carbon footprint by an estimated 9,215,000 pounds.
Wind: 53% of the City of Aspen's total renewable energy production comes from wind power, and more wind power purchases are possible in the future.
Importance of "Base Load"
Base load is the minimum power necessary to meet customer demands at any given time. It is energy that must be there when a customer turns on a computer, lights, or refrigerator whether or not the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Coal has been the traditional base load power supply.
Without sufficient levels of locally produced renewable energy, Aspen cannot provide reliable, clean and sustainable base load to the system into the future, and must instead rely upon supplemental purchases of costly, and non-local sources of energy which can be dirty or unreliable.
These are the "holy grail" of base load renewables:
The U. S Department of Energy website on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers resources to learn about energy efficiency in the industry, power, and transportation sectors and renewable energy technologies.
Learn about the technology that fuels renewable energy with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and initiatives available to increase renewable energy usage.
For statistics on renewable energy and analysis of resources, supply, production, and consumption for all energy sources, see the Energy Information Administration from the Department of Energy.
Current Energy Production
See up to the hour data on the energy being produced by the City's hydroelectric resources and the water plant's PV system.
Renewable Energy Incentives are available through Aspen Energy Initiatives to offset the cost of installing renewable energy generators on your property.