Mountain News: Park City considers peak power demand 

PARK CITY, Utah – A power outage in Park City has officials talking about infrastructure. The problem, utility officials tell The Park Record, is a simple one of supply and demand — and unless more transmission lines are built from Wyoming to deliver electricity, outages will become more frequent after 2010.

Park City and other communities in an area called the Wasatch Back have been growing rapidly, about seven per cent annually as a region. Also, people are using more electricity per person, up 26 per cent from only 20 years ago, said David Eskelsen, a spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power.

“We have to build to match that peak demand,” he said.

Reverse logic is being cited in Telluride, where a new utility board member argues that the essential task is to shave peak demand.

 

Solar farm a triumph

CARBONDALE, Colo. – The new solar farm at Carbondale was a scene of triumph on July 1 – and a sobering reminder.

High-ranking politicians and titans of industry were on hand for the ceremonial flipping of the switch for the half-acre of panels that will produce 200,000 kilowatt hours annually.

“We understand that really it’s our responsibility to find cleaner ways to power our lifts,” said Mike Kaplan, president and chief executive officer of the Aspen Skiing Co. “It’s that simple.”

Aspen Skiing financed the solar farm, investing $1.1 million. Some of the electricity, explains Scott Condon of The Aspen Times, will be used directly by the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, on whose grounds the collectors sit.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who made the “new energy economy” the centre of his campaign two years ago, commended the installation, the largest array of solar panels on Colorado’s West Slope.

U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar took the occasion to link the solar panels to patriotism. “America today is at the end of a noose hanging from a tree where that noose is controlled by the Middle East and those countries that have the global reserves of those fossil fuels,” he said.

Actually, the solar panels will not displace imported oil, but instead the burning of coal, which is abundant in Colorado. At issue are the greenhouse gases and other pollutants created by burning coal. There is no way yet to prevent that pollution.

Closer to the mark was Jim Crown, managing partner for the family that owns Aspen Skiing. “This is a small step, but it is a powerful one because we are finally doing some things about alternative energy besides talking about it,” he said. “It’s not world-changing just yet. We’re not ready to change the name of the town to Carbon-free-dale.”

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