Aspen, Colorado, USA

Aspen, Colorado, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Hydropower, windpower, and land-fill gas energy.
  • Implementation: The City of Aspen is located in the Rocky Mountains in the state of Colorado. As one of the most famous skiing resorts in the USA, Aspen welcomes many tourists every year. In particular, the city's winter population grows from approximately 7,000 to 50,000 people. This means that Aspen has to deal with a significantly higher energy consumption in winter compared to the rest of the year. In 1885, Aspen was already one of the first American municipalities to use hydroelectric power, and by 2014, hydroplants were covering 86% of the energy demand. The boost in hydropower has been largely due to the Canary Initiative, which was established in 2005, which identified Aspen and other mountain communities as “canaries in the coal mine” with respect to their sensitivity to the effects of climate change. The initiative laid out a Climate Action Plan, which would reduce GHG emissions by converting its energy supply to one based on RE. In cooperation with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the city developed a strategy how to achieve this. Investments in renewable energy have enabled the utility to progressively replace fossil fuels. Finally, in August of 2015, the City of Aspen municipally owned electric utility achieved 100% renewable energy, by signing of a contract with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, a wholesale electric energy provider. Since then, the energy mix in the electricity sector is assembled by 46% hydro, 53% wind and 1% landfill gas energy. The new wind contract, which provides 95% of the new renewable energy, allows the city to only buy what it needs to keep it close to 100% renewable energies. The advantage of this arrangement is that it affords crucial supply management flexibility for dealing with inconsistencies in energy production from Aspen’s other resources, such as the fluctuations in hydro power. It also allows the city to avoid being forced to buy energy they do not need.
  • Population: 6,871 (2016)
  • Area: 3.88 sq mi (10.05 km2)
  • Link: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/62490.pdf
Aspen, Colorado, USA

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