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How Aspen's Transition To 100% Renewable Energy Can Help Other Cities

By Brian Spaen

More cities in the United States continue to show support for transitioning toward 100 percent renewable energy. Philadelphia, for example, recently announced initiatives they’re taking to reach that goal by 2035. Aspen, Colorado, is a city that was ahead of the curve on attempting to run on maximum sustainability, but they’ve also faced some challenges in getting there.

Aspen set the goal of achieving fully renewable energy back in 2006. It made sense, considering the community was built around their environment in that it benefitted the ski industry. Initially, the city had two hydroelectric plants back in the 1980s, and they decided to turn on a third one to get close to the 100 percent threshold.

Millions of dollars had to be funded in order to repair the Castle Creek hydroplant that was closed back in 1958. However, this process ran into some serious issues. NPR reports that, “residents and groups ultimately worried the plan would reduce stream flows, and that would harm the environment.” Back in the summer of 2011, citizens even threatened a lawsuit and stated that the city abandoned water rights for the plant after closing it.