Mountain News: Shrinking glaciers a concern 

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In June 2008, part of the answer seemed to have arrived at Kremmling, a town along the Colorado River equally situated between the ski towns of Vail and Winter Park, Breckenridge, and Steamboat Springs. A factory that grinds up wood and reconstitutes it as pellets, for burning in stoves, was opened.

But now, that plant is operating at one-third speed, and another mill elsewhere in Colorado set up to take advantage of the available wood has closed entirely, reports the Middle Park Times.

Mark Mathis, owner of Confluence Energy, the company operating the factory in Kremmling, told the newspaper that there's a glut in the pellet industry.

Mathis sees the solution being expansion of the market. "We need to rally support and find greater, larger, industrial applications for renewable energy," he told the Times.


Air is pretty thin at South Pole

SOUTH POLE, Antarctica - Although wind and cold might grab your attention more readily, the elevation of the South Pole might have you huffing and puffing if you've arrived from sea level. The South Pole lies at an elevation of 9,300 feet, owing to how much ice there is. Atmospheric pressure, however, can be equivalent to being at anywhere from 10,800 to 13,200 feet.


Basalt looking at small hydro

BASALT, Colo. - Town officials in Basalt, located down-valley from Aspen, have been looking into the potential construction of a small hydro plant, to produce electricity from the town's existing water supplies.

Several other towns in Colorado have similarly been looking into the potential to tap the power of falling water that is inherent with mountain topography to create electricity. Among those towns are Aspen and Telluride. Cortez, near Mesa Verde National Park, will soon put on line a small hydro plant that taps the power of water coming from a reservoir into the town's water-treatment plant.

In Basalt, the plant would tap the power of water from a spring that provides the town's drinking water. The water falls 500 feet from the mountain behind the town, notes The Aspen Times.

Bill Kane, the town manager, reported that the plant could supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 30 average-sized homes. Whether the town pursues the project seems to depend upon whether it gets a $350,000 grant from the state of Colorado.


New bus stops planned for bus rapid transit

ASPEN, Colo. - A vision of the future is taking shape in Aspen and outlying communities in the Roaring Fork Valley. There, transportation officials are putting together plans for an expanded bus service called bus-rapid transit. Buses are intended to move faster, and riders are to get 14 bus stops where they can wait inside, get real-time electronic indicators about where the bus is located on its route and more niceties. Voters in 2008 approved $25 million in bonds, and the federal government may provide a $24 million grant.

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