Aspen vowed to become 100 percent reliant on renewable energy by 2015. The city has succeeded.
Aspen, Colorado, is one of America’s most famous ski towns and ahead of the curve when it comes to climate change.
“We are the canary in the coal mine so we’re seeing the effects of a changing climate way sooner than a lot of other cities. And that’s because we’re at a higher elevation,” said by Ashley Perl, a Aspen Climate Action Manager who works for the city. “Aspen now has 23 fewer freezing days a year than it did back in 1980.”
About 10 years ago, the city took that approach up a notch when it developed its own climate action plan. This year, Aspen reached the challenging goal to become 100 percent reliant on renewable energy.
Over half of Aspen’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power, like what’s produced at this creek side plant. Wind supplies most of Aspen’s remaining energy needs. The sun powers the city’s utility department. Renewable energy credits even out the fluctuations in Aspen’s energy supply and consumption.
Joyce McLaren, an energy analyst with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said Aspen can serve as an example. “Any city in the U.S. would be able to attain a 100 percent renewable energy goal,” he said.